WINNERS Chapel founder and general overseer Bishop Oyedepo has been denied a US visa by the American embassy in Nigeria who rejected his application saying that he did not qualify for a renewal in its assessment.
Bishop Oyedepo, 65, is Nigeria’s wealthiest pastorpruener, as his Living Faith Church, popularly known as Winners Chapel, attracts millions of parishioners who pay 10% of their earnings in tithes. Valued by Forbes at $150m, Bishop Oyedepo owns four private jets two universities and a 5,000 acre compound known as Canaanland in Ogun State, in southwest Nigeria, is currently building his third university.
Earlier this week, however, Bishop Oyedepo was surprisingly denied a visa to visit the US, leading to a scene at the embassy as he queried the grounds for his refusal. Bishop Oyedepo was said to have told the embassy that he had been travelling to the states as far back as the 1980s and had not violated any rules or committed any crime to have warranted being denied a renewal of his visa.
While at the embassy, Bishop Oyedepo immediately sent for his bodyguards to get his phones so he could make some calls. However, the embassy told him he could not make calls within the precincts of the visa-issuing section of its building. leading to a minor altercation between the cleric and staff.
It is not clear of the visa refusal has anything to do with plans by the US administration to place a visa ban on Nigerians. Last week, the Trump administration indicated that it plans to add seven countries across the world to the US travel ban list.
Countries that were to be added to the list include Belarus, Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania. Nigeria is viewed as a haven for terrorists due to the continued operation of Boko Haram, Islamic State of West Africa and Fulani cattle herdsmen that operate within her borders.
White House spokesman, Hogan Gidley had said: “The travel ban has been profoundly successful in protecting our country and raising the security baseline around the world. While there are no new announcements at this time, common sense and national security both dictate that if a country wants to fully participate in US immigration programme, they should also comply with all security and counter-terrorism measures because we do not want to import terrorism or any other national security threat into the United States.”