Following a personal experience, she vowed many years ago to champion the cause of helpless and hopeless members of society. In the last 20 years, Eunice Iferi Chukwuemeka, Chairman, Eagle Group of Companies; Founder, Stop Hurting People Foundation; and co-Pastor, Winning Power Ministries, has done exactly so.
The serial entrepreneur, with enviable interests in real estate, banking, and finance, is married to Apostle Kenneth Chukwuemeka, the General Overseer, Winning Power Ministries, Lagos. In this interview, she speaks on her determination to transform Nigeria, work, ordination at age 16 by Archbishop Benson Idahosa and much more. What drives you daily? That’s the desire to see that somebody gets a lift and does not suffer what I ever suffered in life. Passion for people in pain drives me daily. Tell us about childhood memories and your journey into ministry? My childhood was quite interesting. I was ordained at the age of 16 by Archbishop Benson Idahosa. In fact, I started the first Church of God Mission in Akwa-Ibom State; the church has over 5,000 branches in Akwa-Ibom right now. How did your journey begin; were your parent’s Ministers of the gospel? They were not. In fact, my parents were my converts. I was just a kid that attended the SU. I had people like Brother Itam and Pastor Matina Ube, mentoring me as early as age nine, 12. At 14, I was already a minister unordained, and already planting churches. I planted an Assemblies of God Church at Idiba in Cross River State, at age 14. What’s your overall vision for Stop Hurting People Foundation?
My vision is, to be able to, with insights, create transformation for our nation. I do not believe that transformation is the sole business of government. If you’ve been in any form of leadership, and you’re not been political, you will admit to the predicament of government. I am not a card-carrying member of any party but because I have been in a leadership position from childhood, I have an idea of what leadership is.
That’s why I do not, for any reason, castigate people in leadership. So much goes on in the place of leadership and leaders will have their hands properly lifted if we have pockets of followers or citizens complementing the efforts of the government. What’s the inspiration behind Stop Hurting People Foundation? I’ve been through seasons in my life that make me know that sometimes when you see people behave in a certain way, it is for a reason. But the truth is that a very pleasant person can turn sour because of a situation. I have had very eventful experiences in life. In fact, if God was not on my case, I would have been a wreck by now. There are many girls who are a wreck in the hands of men today simply because they are angry; to them, they are fighting God in anger. But I see that as prostitution. I made a decision to mess my body up in rebellion to God over the sad experiences I had as a young woman, but, everywhere I wanted to put my head, He (God) blocked me. I eventually reckoned that many girls who misbehave are actually able to do so because God did not take all the time to block or stop them. I, therefore, decided to let myself be used by God to go help such people by blocking and stopping them from a life of sin. …and in what ways are you helping precisely? My organisation, Stop Hurting People Foundation, helps in various ways. We recover prostitutes from the streets, we recover young men too and help them channel their energies positively. So, we create transformation because that’s all we can do to help our society for now. I had lost faith in God personally and had even started calling Him a liar, but He drew me back and gave me reasons to trust and believe in Him. Pain is a horrible thing for anyone to go through. Many have died in pain. Many have lost their mind and even character. Many women are on the streets today because of pain. I was doing all this on my own 11 years ago. In fact, I’ve been doing this for 20 years running. It was Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo who is now one of our Trustees, that said to me one day: “Eunice if you continue like this, you will get so impoverished that you will become a charity case for another person. Go and register this organisation and open it up to get partnerships and support.” I yielded his voice and Stop Hurting People Foundation got registered 11 years ago. What has the impact been like? It’s incredible. We have recovered over 300 youths from the streets and rehabilitated them. If you visit our Facebook page, you’ll see live testimonies. We’ve given hope to a countless number of people also. As of today, we have 32 children in school through our scholarship programme. We’ve given homes and cars to people who direly needed them. We give food and housing to widows and also ensure their children get an education. We also carry out advocacy and public enlightenment; we did this on Ebola, Lassa fever, and others. Part of what my NGO does for widows is fighting for them when they are being deprived of their husbands’ inheritance. Women pass through a lot as wives and so, do not deserve such treatments. As a wife, when your husband is hungry, you are the first person that knows. When he doesn’t have a dime, you’re the first and perhaps the only person who knows. When his parents and siblings visit, you give them your last food, smiling; while you go hungry. For that, they suspect you surplus. God forbid your husband dies untimely, the same people gather to ensure you do not inherit all that you have suffered from your husband for him to achieve. I want to be a husband to all widows who may not be lucky to have anyone to stand by them. We have a legal department and we go all out to fight and make sure women are not deprived. Let’s talk about your recent show of love on Valentine’s Day with eye care… What’s actually stirred up that was that a young lady I know suddenly went blind. According to her relative, the doctor said they probably would have been able to avert the situation if she had come earlier. I was shocked and couldn’t sleep that night. I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that some people may not be able to visit an ophthalmologist for routine eye checks.
I, therefore, decided to carry-out free eye-checks for 100 residents of Awoyokun and Onipanu environs in Lagos, who could not afford it. The Police were there too to benefit. My husband, Apostle Kenneth Chukwuemeka, has been very supportive of virtually every project ever carried out by this organisation. He also heavily supported Valentine’s Day eye screening. We also gave out free eyeglasses to those who needed them. You do a lot; how do you fund your activities? I don’t even know but I know God has really used us to do a lot. I remember an unknown Facebook user, Chris Ugosky, once stumbled on our Facebook page displaying pictures of our December outreach with Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs. He was moved and has since then made two donations after asking for our account details. That’s one of the few persons God has used to support our work.