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April 22, 2024
You are currently viewing Cleric urges colleagues to prioritise salvation over prosperity
Pastor Lawrence Oji, during a news conference in Lagos, on Monday

Cleric urges colleagues to prioritise salvation over prosperity

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By Taiye Olayemi

Pastor Lawrence Oji, popularly known as “Pastor Solution”, on Monday urged clerics in Nigeria to focus more on salvation rather than prosperity, in their sermons.

The cleric, who was a drug addict and an ex-habitual offender, made the call during a news conference in Lagos.

Oji is a minister with the New Covenant Church, London and Coordinator of Saving Hands for Alcoholic and Drug End-Users (SHADE).

He said that increased cases of depression, drug abuse, urge to rape and commit all forms of atrocities among Nigerians, result from limited access to messages of salvation.

He noted that majority of the clerics preach prosperity, neglecting the challenges people were confronted with.

He advised clerics to deliberately focus on the gospel of salvation rather than prosperity.

“ Clerics must begin to priotise preaching on the theme of salvation and minimise that of prosperity because many people have not received salvation and are confronted with serious challenges that cannot be compared to material possession.

“ The ministry of every Christian is to look out for those in bondage and ensure they are released.

“ Many are in the ministry for self interest. Pastors should begin to teach people the word of God in line with salvation so that they can have personal encounter with God,” he said.

Speaking on his journey to salvation, Oji said he wasted over 30 years of his life engaging in hard drugs and later got depressed as a result of his quest to leave the habit.

“ I was always giving out drugs to people who desired to have them but were not financially buoyant to get. That made me acquire the nick name ‘Mr Solution’, then,” he recalled.

According to him, while being addicted to drugs in Italy, he was imprisoned countless times.

He said his horrible sojourn in drugs necessitated his taking up evangelism, “to put those suffering from drug abuse and depression on the right path of God”.

“ Peer group influence led me into hard drugs. I also led many people to drugs in Nigeria. My addiction was so bad that I tried going to the hospital to be rescued, but to no avail.

“My mother went to different places to take me out of drugs and she was told my destiny was spiritually tied to drug.

“I am sharing my story so that people in similar situations can be hopeful. Through this, I got depressed and, at a point, stabbed myself so as to die.

” Within a year I destroyed five cars because I just wanted to end it all. I deliberately bashed those cars.

“ But, on March 21, 2001, the desire to smoke left me after being prayed for by one of the prison ministers at the highest prison in Italy.

” At this point, the authorities were already tired of me, my name was among those to be deported after serving my sentence.

“But, somehow, God intervened and I was not deported as planned. People should not give up on their loved ones. They should rather pray for them and preach to them to be free from every bondage.

“ Now, I go to prisons across the world to preach salvation. I also go to places that are abodes of drug addicts. I make sure they are delivered. So, clerics should do more,” he said.

Oji said he was from an affluent family and joined the Nigerian Police at a point in time.

“I later moved to the banking industry and was a pioneer member of the Institute of Bankers.”

Oji said he was disposed to golden opportunities but never took advantage of them due to drug addiction.

“ My utmost desire now is to establish a rehabilitation centre that will cater for victims of drug abuse and depression without financial commitment from beneficiaries,” he said.

The cleric also spoke of his love for late Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.

“ While in the Nigerian Police Force, I was assigned to guard Fela after his house was burnt and he was hospitalised at the then Creek Hospital in Lagos,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Lawrence Oji is from Abia State and holds a first degree in Economics and a Masters degree in Theology and Religious Studies.

He has published seven books in his bid to relay his life experiences to encourage and inspire others.

The books are – From Prison to Pulpit; Soul Winning Made Simple; Not Without a Scar; Depression: The Silent Killer, causes, consequences and cure; Positioned by Grace; Stubborn Faith and Power of Hope. (NAN) (nannews.ng)

Edited by Ephraim Sheyin

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