UNIVERSITY INSTITUTION ESTABLISHMENT BY CHURCHES: BUSINESS AS USUAL?

By Josmat Jerry

Our immediate society has always been birthed with a lot of ills dwelling on its tail, this has leave the lives of people in the society on a stagnant mode. The most dramatic shape about this can be drawn in that; it all centering on monetary values. Well, what can we lay hands on without money? It is the general and most acceptable means of payment, it has always and would forever be.

The poverty rate in our society (most importantly Africa) is at a high rate. Result shows that about 80% Nigerians are swimming in abject poverty, which ranks among the first five countries who have high number of poor citizens alongside India, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Democratic Republic of Congo.

As various measures are been put in place to alleviate the poverty rate and likewise, lots of factors still add up to these havoc. The solution actually becomes ineffective when the problem keeps reoccurring. Throughout all facets of life, ranging from politics, education, entertainment, economy, religion, etc., the issue of poverty has either made or mar activities, though, they have also either contributed to the poverty level or ease its operation.

Drawing our gaze to the religion sector, it is one of the ills in the society that can easily and clearly be drawn out from. The church, a religious institution which has been mandated with the mantle of making the lives of their members’ better, is now laden with the image of extorting money. These churches now center their attention on how to extort monetary values from members. This is now more of a priority in comparison to directing their hearts to the face of the creator.

Most of these churches operating now are way far different from the ones of the old centuries, well, we are in the last days. The church of divine operation is now a profit making organization which now embodies itself with the obligation of boosting its bank account.

One of the acts that has pump out various opinions and questionings is the creation of Universities by churches which has been rampant within the path of ‘church business’. Hardly will you see a church denomination without a university to its possession. Out of 169 accredited Universities in Nigeria, 79 are of private Universities, amidst which 39 belongs to church denominations in which 15 extra Universities owned by churches currently await approval.

These universities owned by churches include, Covenant University, of Living Faith Church; Bowen University, of the Nigeria Baptist Convention; Redeemer’s University which is owned by Redeemed Christian Church of God; Joseph Ayo Babalola University, of Christ Apostolic Church; Babcock University, of The Seventh Day Adventist Church, to mention but a few.

Funds raised to build these institutions might largely be derived from donations but no matter how little it might be, some finances used for its establishment will also somehow be gotten from hands of the poor and the poorest through tithes or other means. It would have rather been a different story entirely if these respective universities have been created to cater for the needs of the poor in their denomination.

Close to 95% of their members have no access to these institution due to the extravagant and costly tuition fees. Babcock University tuition fee ranges from 600,000 to 992,300; Bowen University: 535,000 to 1,725,000; Redeemer’s University: 563,000 to 823,000; Joseph Ayo Babalola: 220,000 to 800,000; Convenant University: 817,500 to 882,500. With these figures, does this mean they are prohibited from average/poor families or better still say they are established for rich families to throw in their affluence. The church shouldn’t create more to the high rate of poverty level in the county if it cannot reduce it.

A family that can hardly cater for 2-3 square meal per day will never meet up to these tuition fees. We can say federal institution exist but that’s not the point right now, the main issue is that these church institutions should have been established to cater for the better life of their members. Instead of using huge funds on institution, why not build primary and secondary schools on free tuition fees. But, it’s always a business as usual, neglecting the fact that it should have been used as an instrument to uplift the lives of people in their denomination.

Though, the government also contributed to the poverty level by not creating enough job opportunities and also failing to put in place the provision of quality education for young lads and youths. No matter how the argument might turn out to be, it would still be written boldly across the walls that the church is not using these universities to reduce or help poor homes in the society.

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