Some stakeholders in the tourism sector on Sunday advised the Federal and Lagos State Governments to dissuade Pastor Temitope Joshua, popularly known as, TB Joshua, from relocating the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) to Israel from Nigeria.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria that Nigeria would lose billions of naira to religious tourism if Temitope Joshua and SCOAN should make the plan real.
NAN reports that TB Joshua, during one of his church services , recently said that he was planning to relocate to Israel from Ikotun, a suburb of Lagos.
It was reported that TB Joshua was in Israel recently where he held meetings with the mayors of Jerusalem, Tiberia and the Jordan Valley.
Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN).
He was quoted as saying that he was offered different facilities very close to the biblical site of the Sea of Galilee where he could organise meetings for international pilgrims.
NAN also reports that SCOAN established in 1994 does not have another branch in Nigeria outside its international headquarters located in Ikotun.
Some heads of government from African countries had also visited SCOAN to seek spiritual restoration and advice from Pastor TB Joshua
Mrs Ime Udo, the General Secretary of the Nigerian Association of Tour Operators (NANTA) told NAN that Nigeria would lose billions of naira from religious tourism revenue if SCOAN actualised its planned relocation to Israel.
Udo said Joshua’s planned action would lead to a reduction in the human traffic of local and foreign religious tourists that normally patronised SCOAN.
T . B. Joshua in the realm of the spirit during a service.
According to her, thousands of foreign religious tourists visit SCOAN monthly to worship and for other spiritual healings.
She said that these tourists would fly into Nigeria; lodge in hotels, board commercial vehicles, patronise eateries and visit other tourists’ sites around the locality.
Udo said that all these had been translating into huge revenue for the Nigeria economy.
Udo advised the Federal and Lagos State Governments to encourage SCOAN to remain in Nigeria as part ways to develop our tourism sector.
A member of SCOAN, Mrs Iyabo Emmanuel, said that she was in church service when their General Overseer, Pastor TB Joshua, announced to the members on the offer given to him by the Israeli Mayors.
Mrs Emmanuel, popularly called “Iya’’( Mother) Synagogue, said that Pastor Joshua never said that he had agreed to such a proposal from the mayors.