Religious leaders have been accused by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos state of pushing political leaders to steal, Vanguard reports.

The governor made his comments through his commissioner for home affairs, Dr Abdul-hakeem Abdul-Lateef, at the annual public lecture organised by Christian. Governor Akinwunmi Ambode stated that politicians are forced to steal, due to the way they are patronized by religious leaders and other influential people in society. He stated: “When churches and mosques want to do fund raising, they will not look for people that are committed to the work of God; but rather, politicians and people in power whose salary is not up to N500,000 to come and launch N50 million project. “This same politicians and people in power, when they came to church late, Pastor will ask congregation to stand up and clap for them; whereas the poor person that came early to church, nobody recognizes him or her.”

The governor’s position was corroborated by a former minister of education, Oby Ezekwesili, who stated that the church had failed, and that there was a need to tackle the scourge of corruption. In her words: “The church which is meant to be the salt of healing has failed, and this is worrisome. We are all comfortable with corruption. “There is need to consider reducing opportunities for corruption because battling corruption goes beyond Christian belief. We should enforce prosecution and sanctioning of bad behaviours, to serve as a deterrent for other evil doers.”

Meanwhile, former President Olusegun Obasanjo accused churches in Nigeria and religious leaders of corruption. Chief Obasanjo stated that some churches, like many other institutions in the country, had tarnished their images; and advised churches to moderate preaching about prosperity.