By Omah Diegu
A preacher from Inyi Nigeria, Bishop Harford Anayo Iloputaife was born on the 12th of February 1959 in Lagos Nigeria. He was the sixth child of Capt. H. A. Iloputaife, MBE, NAEC, who was the grandson of Maduekesi (Madu) King of Inyi at the time the British invaded that land in the 19th Century. On his maternal side his grandfather John Anyaji a fervent preacher and renown healer was first to introduce Christianity to the people of Inyi from Ogidi where he had gone to apprentice as a lumberjack (sawyer).
Bishop Iloputaife was called to the Christian ministry when in 1980, at the invitation of his mother Jessie Iloputaife (nee Anyaji,) he joined her at YWAM (Youth with a Mission) at the University of the Nations in Hawaii USA. From Hawaii he accepted an invitation to preach in Canada. A few months later Anayo Iloputaife returned to Nigeria to minister at the Holy Church of God in Christ, a church founded by his mother on Badagry Express road, Oluti Lagos Nigeria.
Introduced by his mentor Brother Moses Ngene, Anayo Iloputaife at the young age of 24, married Frances Nkechi Ajufo from Ibuzo Nigeria who was then a secretary at a bank in Lagos.
In 1985 Anayo decided to start his own ministry which he named Victory Christian Church. Together with the students at his Bible Faith Training Center he went around buses and other public places winning souls for Christ. By 1991 when Harford Anayochuku Iloputaife was consecrated Bishop under the umbrella of the Pentecostal faith, his Victory Christian Church then situated near Satellite Town Lagos, boasted a membership of over ten thousand. As a Bishop he had pastors in more than 20 cities such as Awka, Ughelli
and Ojo in Nigeria who came under the auspices of Victory Christian Church. His method of ministry included televangelism through which he preached the gospel to Nigerian audiences over the Victory Television Broadcast. Through his Faith Revival Ministries World Outreach he traveled the world preaching the gospel wherever he was invited. Bishop Iloputaife published several books and recordings; the most popular of which is Dynamics of Biblical Prosperity by Bishop Harford Anayo Iloputaife.
An ardent preacher, counselor and healer who spoke out against the ills of society and callous neglect of the suffering poor by the government of his day, Bishop Iloputaife escaped several attempts on his life by armed assassins. Finally, on that faithful night of the 4th of February 1995, he was shot at very close range by assassins who followed him home from where he went to pick up his mother on her arrival from the United States to join him in the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the founding of Victory Christian Church. Five days later on the 9th of February 1995, Bishop Harford Anayochuku Iloputaife passed away.
Bishop Iloputaife's Memorial Burial Ground
Bishop Iloputaife's Graveside
Although his death caused quite a stir in Nigeria, raised suspicions and questions that caused a number of the pastors and congregation to leave his ministry after his wife became the overseer, (the first woman to run a mega-church in Nigeria,) Bishop Anayo Iloputaife’s legacy has withstood the test of time. In addition to a foundation dedicated to the scholarship of the youth of Nigeria that was launched in his name, Bishop Harford Anayo Iloputaife Leadership Institute was erected by his congregation next to his memorial burial ground in Lagos.
In Inyi, his mother Jessie Iloputaife opened the non-profit Bishop Anayochuku Iloputaife Orphanage and Christian School at the Iloputaife family compound. She maintained this institution with her salary as a teacher in California until her retirement in 2006, and continues to support it with income from her house in Lagos Nigeria and partial donations to Proclaim International Ministries – a non-profit organization she founded in the United States.
Bishop Anayochuku Iloputaife Orphanage and Christian School, Enugu Inyi
Bishop Harford Anayo Iloputaife is also included in the database of Christian martyrs since the crucifixion of Christ maintained by the University of Notre Dame Indiana: Part 4 MARTYROLOGY, The demographics of Christian martyrdom, AD 33 – AD 2001, page 249 “1995 Iloputaife, bp H. A. nige”.http://icl.nd.edu/assets/84232/wct04_todd_johnson.pdf . Jesus said to his disciples “People will do to you exactly what they did to me.” John 15:21.
To date, the killers of Bishop Harford Anayo Iloputaife have not been apprehended in spite of the fact that three of his relatives – his wife, his mother and his younger brother – were witnesses to the crime.