Arguably, Pastor Kumuyi’s N4 billion 30,000 seater ultra modern auditorium would be one of the grandest church in Africa when completed. ENCOMIUM Weekly’s check on Friday, February 28, 2014, revealed that the massive structure would be completed and commissioned this year. We gathered that the project which began seven years ago could not be completed as scheduled in 2012, due to architectural and technical adjustments to expand the work.
Built like a stadium, we confirmed that the auditorium sits on an underground structure. According to an inside source, the administration building is underground with a car park. The underground park, we reliably learnt, would take 160 cars.
It would seat more than 30,000 worshippers at a go. It is a mini-stadium and is costing the church over N4 billion, and every kobo of it is coming from the pockets of church members in Nigeria with generous contributions from Deeper Life churches abroad.
An Italian firm, Cappa & D’Alberto won the contract for the construction. The building will cover 6,200 square metres, with an additional 16,244 square metres for landscaping, walks and car parks. It will be a sight to behold when it is completed.
Checks revealed that the outer structure has been painted cream with a touch of light green. Interestingly, the auditorium covered a whole side of a street. Pastor Kumuyi spent over N500 million on expansion as its ultra modern worldwide headquarters nears completion.
Information available to us revealed that the holiness preacher bought a whole street, Oduwaye Street, which lies directly opposite the cathedral in 2012.
The clergy actually held a meeting with all the landlords at Oduwaye Street and bidded for their property. After much bargaining, we learnt that each of the landlords submitted his offers. There were 10 houses on one side of the street while Deeper Life sits on the opposite side. Out of the 10 houses, Deeper Life owns two as its children church while six were residential and two were shopping complexes.
Consequently, the whole structures were demolished. However, checks by ENCOMIUM Weekly on Friday, February 28, 2014, revealed that the whole place has been sealed and the foundation laying of the ultra modern car park has been done.
In an exclusive chat with some of the builders on site, they confirmed to us that work would be completed this year. We also spoke to one of the architects who is also a member of the church, Architect Gozie and he confirmed the development. “Yes, work is progressing. We would give you the privilege of coming into the building and do photo shoot next week if you come with a covering letter from your office. We don’t usually like to boast about our achievement.”
Meanwhile, work at Gbagada has halted progress at the Deeper Life Conference Centre, a 240-hectare project off the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway at Olowotedo Village, Kilometre 42, in Ogun State. To be used for camping, retreats and special programmes, this project is so big that it is almost like a township being carved out of the bush.
Most of the structures there are temporary, but a few permanent ones, such as male hostels, chalets, and an elaborate water supply system have been completed. It has its own electricity supply scheme and a petrol station (yet to be completed). Individual states in Nigeria have been given their own plots at the site to erect permanent buildings for their own use when there is a national programme there, as well as to serve other participants. A nine-hall, 65,000-capacity temporary auditorium now in use will give way to a 130,000-capacity main auditorium when the project is finished.
Similarly, because of the Gbagada project, work at the International Bible Training Centre (IBTC), Ayobo, Lagos, has been slowed down. A village complex, with its own chalets, conference centre, offices, classroom blocks, a new 10,000-capacity students hostel, a massive kitchen complex, supermarket, children’s church, power-generating plant, and a factory producing mattresses, iron beds, pillows and paint for church use, the IBTC now serves as the stand-in headquarters church in Lagos, pending the completion of the Gbagada church.
– FEMI OYEWALE