By Dennis Naku
The founder of a faith-based organisation, Apostle Chibuzor Chinyere, has denied demanding rent from late Deborah Emmanuel’s parents in the estate he gifted the family near Port Harcourt.
Recall that in May 2022, Deborah Emmanuel (not Deborah Samuel), a 200-level student at Shehu Shahari College of Education in Soloto State, was brutally killed by her schoolmates, who accused her of blaspheming Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
A few weeks after the incident, Apostle Chinyere, the General Overseer of Omega Power Ministries Worldwide, headquartered in Aluu, on the outskirts of Port Harcourt, relocated Deborah’s parents and six siblings to Rivers State.
On arrival, he gifted them an estate comprising 14 self-contained rooms, awarded scholarships to Deborah’s siblings and bought a car for her father, Garba Emmanuel.
But the cleric, while addressing newsmen in Port Harcourt on Saturday, said reports in the social media that he had asked the family to whom he was catering for proceeds from the rent in the estate were outright falsehoods.
Chinyere, who came to the briefing with Deborah’s parents and her siblings, said he currently has 18 estates in various areas where people are living free of charge
He stated, “So I don’t see any reason why I will ask for rent for the estate I gave to this wonderful family.
“If I didn’t collect rent for my 18 estates that people are living in free of charge, is it this family, whose daughter stood for Christ and died, to whom I have given that property after signing documents and handing it over, from whom I will ask for rent?
“God will not forgive me if I ask them for rent. They went through a lot of trauma when their daughter died. So I sent it to their family.“
He recalled that what touched him was the agitation from Christians, which may have sparked a religious crisis.
“There was agitation in Sokoto, in Niger State, because of the regular killings. The girl (Deborah) did not do anything. She only confessed her faith, and she was burnt to death.
“And the family said they would not send any of their children to school again. I said if her family is not moved out of that place, they may be attacked again, which may result in a major religious war.
“My intervention saved this nation from a religious crisis. People, enemies should not try to manipulate anybody, ” Apostle Chinyere said.
He explained that when Deborah’s family arrived in Port Harcourt, he went personally to pick them up at the Airport and we went straight to the estate he wanted to give to them.
Chinyere added, “The estate was empty. There was no one there. And considering what they have gone through, it will be wicked to put them alone in their estate.
“So I had to rent a house for them. Then, when tenants start renting the estate, they can now move. So I only paid one year for the rented apartment and furnished it for them so that they could have neighbours.
“Then somebody went and interviewed them and wrote that OPM promised to gift you an estate, but he went and rented a house for them. It is not true. ”
Continuing, he said, “As I am talking with you, they are living inside their estate with their tenants. It has 14 self-contained units valued at N100,000 each.
“And they collect yearly N840,000 for rent. So I never collected one kobo from them.”
Fielding questions from newsmen, the late Deborah’s father, Garba, said through an interpreter that he and his family had been living in the estate and collecting rent from their tenants.
He stated, “I have been living in the estate and I have collected over N800,000 from my tenants. We are okay here and there is no problem.
“I wanted to increase the rent from N100,000 yearly to N130,000, but my tenants begged me, so I left it.”