It was all joy in Port Harcourt River State Nigeria as the general overseer of Omega Power Ministries (OPM) Apostle Chibuzo Chinyere wedded 140 couples with the Church OPM footing all the bills from start to finish.
Apostle Chibuzo who is widely known for his acts of charity and love especially towards the less privileged runs a lot of free services which includes:
1. OPM free nursery and primary schools in Rivers State and Abia State where the church provides up to free uniforms for the students.
2. OPM free restaurant where people come and eat free without paying. But the condition is that you have to be less privileged in Port Harcourt.
3. OPM free boutique in Port Harcourt.
4. OPM free skill acquisition center Port Harcourt.
The build to the wedding all started when the Apostle (Dr) Chibuzor Chinyere, general overseer of Omega Power Ministries (OPM) Port-Harcourt, prepared to round off the sermon that Sunday afternoon, he had a leading to make an altar call.
It was a most queer call, one that he would naturally dismiss with a wave of hands. But the leading persisted and Chinyere, who leads the fast-growing assembly, spilled it out.
“If you are here and you have been cohabiting with a woman without paying her bride price or securing her family’s consent to be your wife, raise up your hands,” he declared.
What followed shocked the preacher. Over 100 hands went up. Chinyere was stunned. So were many in the church.
Over 100 couples have been cohabiting without solemnisation or payment of brides in the congregation, a situation Chinyere pointed out could lead them to hell.
“If you keep doing this and you die today, you are heading straight to hell because you are living with someone you have not married legally,” he stressed.
An idea occurred to the preacher to organise what is known in Christian circles as correction marriage, a ceremonial event that offers couples living without formalisation a second chance to rectify the fundamental infraction.
But Chinyere didn’t just organise the mass marriage ceremony, which help penultimate weekend in the church’s headquarters.
He sponsored all the 140 couples that participated in the ceremony witnessed by their relations and well-wishers.
Chinyere offered the men funds to pay the bride price to their shocked in-laws, many of whom have given up such honour will ever come their way.
He went ahead to pay for the wedding gowns and suits of the couples as well as refreshment of invited guests at the reception ceremony.
“The truth is many of these couples didn’t plan to just cohabit. Many wanted to pay bride’s price but couldn’t afford it.
“They have children and you cannot ask them to separate again. So, we had to come in to save these people from going to hell because of what poverty forced them to do,” Chinyere told our correspondent.
At the marriage ceremony, many of the couples exuded great joy. They praised the general overseer for coming to their rescue and wiping away their age-long shame.
71-year-old Samuel Arewa from Umuahia Abia State, had been living with his wife for 43 years without paying a dime on her.
The omission, he said, had become an evil pattern in the family with many of their children also following the same example.
“My family had been under a curse but God has used his servant to deliver us today. I am grateful that my shame has been removed,” Arewa said overwhelmed with emotions.
Another beneficiary, John Nyeso from Rumuoji in Rivers State, said he has been living with his wife for 20 years with four children from the cohabitation.
He said whenever he attempted to pay for the bride price, several unpleasant occurrences would frustrate the plan.
Nyeso said the intervention of the church has restored his dignity and that of the family.
Eze Oyenbuchi had been cohabiting with his wife for 6years with two children.
He said: “I was doing well financially before but since I took my wife into my house everything ceased.
“The devil almost stopped us again today as we were preparing to come to the church for the ceremony, my brother, without any physical sickness, died just to prevent us from being joined together in the church.”
Mrs. Ike Aguta, who has four children from 20 years of cohabitation, said with the ceremony she becomes the first female in her family to put on wedding gown and take bride price to her parents.