Oyakhilome loses millions over COVID-19 sermon

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Popular Nigerian preacher, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome has lost the equivalent of N65.6 million over comments he made about COVID-19.

UK’s broadcasting regulator, Ofcom imposed a £125,000 (N65.6m) fine on religious channel, Loveworld for airing the claims.

Oyakhilome, who recently urged his members not to take COVID-19 vaccines, owns the channel.

According to a statement it released, Ofcom said that the channel was fined for breaching the nation’s broadcasting code.

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“This was the second time in a year that the broadcaster breached our rules on accuracy in news and harm in its coverage of the coronavirus,” the statement read in part.

Ofcom said that in December 2020, Loveworld aired a programme called the Global Day of Prayer which featured potentially harmful and inaccurate statements about the Coronavirus pandemic and adequate protection was not provided to viewers.

The regulator said it “received one complaint that this programme included potentially harmful statements that
linked the Coronavirus pandemic to 5G technology”.

The regulator said that upon assessment of the programme, it identified additional material across the 29 hours and 15 minutes of the programme that raised further potential issues.

One of such issues, Ofcom said, was a quote by Oyakhilome wherein he told the congregation: “Right now, the word tells us to pray, that the Gospel may have free cause and be glorified.

“There will be no free cause with the lockdown of cities. No free cause of the Gospel. With churches locked down. All the
evil wearing of masks. Or the requirement of the fraudulent tests.

“The fraudulent Covid-19 tests. All these are hampering the spread of the Gospel…”.

Ofcom also expressed displeasure that Oyakhilome called isolation centres for treatment of COVID-19 patients “concentration camps”.

The regulator said it was unfortunate that Loveworld continued to spread inaccurate information despite being previously warned against doing so.

 

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