IN July this year, Stella Immanuel, a Camerounian, Nigerian trained medical doctor cum preacher attracted global attention for her views about Hydroxychloroquine, a generic drug. At the time when the medical and scientific world were still researching to produce a vaccine/cure for the novel coronavirus, Immanuel came out to say that Hydroxychloroquine was already doing wonders as she had successfully treated over 300 patients with it. She wanted the world to waste no time and resources seeking for a solution as they already had one at hand. Her view soon went viral, triggering a lot of questions about her. Who is she? many asked. Anthony Akaeze, an award-winning freelance investigative journalist, was as curious and went in search of the Houston-based doctor. On October 18, after attending Firepower Ministries service, the church founded by Immanuel, Akaeze engaged the preacher in a discussion that revealed interesting aspects of her life and work beyond Hydroxychloroquine. It turned out to be not just about the medicine but also religion, politics, America, Africa among others. Excerpts:
Having watched you preach today, and given that you are also a medical doctor, I wonder how you are able to combine both work? You said for instance that you would embark on a seven days/ 24 hours prayer next week?
Yes, seven days-24 hours. We need to fight for the nation, for God. How do I combine the two? I have a clinic, I have staff, three MPs that work with me. I work during the day. Even when I’m here, I see patients through tele health or phone. So, I’m able to do all that but I think my primary responsibility is to be a preacher; that is to be a carrier of God’s fire in this end time and bring revival to the nation. So I take that seriously before my doctoral responsibility. Yes, I’m a doctor; it’s who I am and what I’m trained to do but God uses us as He wishes. My times are in God’s hands. If God tells me to pack everything and move to Venezuela and stay in a hut and preach the gospel, I will do it. My whole life belongs to God.
When did you accept God as your personal savior?
I got saved 18 years ago (2002). I got saved in the US.
You mind to talk about the experience?
What happened is: my cousin was the one that got saved first. She’s older than me but we are really close. She got saved first and I was laughing at her, and wondering: what’s wrong with you? What did you do? I remember the story clearly. I called her house one day and she had left He that dwells in the secret place of the Lord shall abide under the side of the almighty: Psalm 91….I listened to it and hung up the phone, I called back, listened to it again and hung up the phone. I kept calling her until I got through and (said), what is that on your phone? I have lost you. What crazy stuff is that on your phone? She said ‘What happened?’ I said, you put the Lord is my shepherd on your phone. She said, it’s not the Lord is my shepherd. I said, what’s the difference? Why are you doing that? Why have you decided to join those crazy born again people? I was screaming. After that, we hanged out and she wanted to talk about it and I said please stop it, stop all these your Jesus thing. At one point she decided enough was enough. She loves me and wanted us to still be together so she decided I needed to get saved. So she started praying for my salvation but my little sister was the one that first got saved in my family. So my cousin and little sister are the ones…they started praying for my salvation seriously. Eventually things started getting chaotic in my life. It’s just like when you are about to have a baby and the baby stays in the womb for nine months. When it’s time for the baby to be born, the womb gets uncomfortable or the child outgrows the womb and the womb starts compressing and the baby has to come out. The baby is really stressed out but that is just the transition. All kinds of crazy things started happening in my life and I was like, I don’t know what’s going on. So, eventually she (cousin) told me, maybe you should give your life to Christ. I do believe looking back at my whole life, God had a hold on my life from when I was really young. I remember I have had people prophecy that I was going to be a preacher and I used to laugh.
That was in Cameroun?
Yes, Nigeria and Cameroun. I went to school in Nigeria…A lot of people came into Christianity slowly and took their time. Mine was different. I got saved in 2002, and within a year I was already casting demons out of people.
You attended University of Calabar, Nigeria. Although Nigeria and Cameroun are neighboring countries, why did you choose to study at Calabar and not Cameroun?
First of all, the medical school in Cameroun is in the French speaking area and I’m from the English speaking area and I had an uncle at that time that was working at the University. He was able to bring me to stay with him and I got admitted to the university. But a lot of people in the English speaking part of Cameroun go to school in Nigeria anyway. That happens a lot.
How was your experience in Nigeria?
Nigeria is like second home to me. I mean, I lived in Nigeria from when I was 17 to 25. So my formative years were, to some extent, spent in Nigeria. So, Nigeria is like home. I go to Nigeria and I go to Cameroun. If I’m going to Nigeria, I tell people I’m going home. If I’m going to Cameroun, I tell people I’m going home. I go in and out of Nigeria and Cameroun. I preach in both places. My spiritual parents are from Nigeria.
Who are they?
I have two spiritual parents. One is Dr D. K. Olukoya of Mountain of Fire. I learn how to be a warrior from Dr Olukoya. Then I have Reverend Mosy Madugba and his wife, Chinyere Gloria Madugba. They’ve taught me a lot, mentored me personally one on one.
How does it feel to be in the spotlight?
It’s kind of weird. Let me put it this way. I have prayed all my life for God to give me the microphone. That if He gives me the microphone I will call America to God. I have prayed that prayer for over ten years. If you go and look at the messages I did five, ten years ago, you will hear me crying out to God about America. I did message on fight for the soul of America, fight for the world. I’ve been praying and fighting for America for years. I have been praying open prayers for two, three years. We’ve been doing lock-ins. I remember in 2011, we did 100 days lock in, praying for the nation. We didn’t come out.
You and your church members?
Yes, church members and spiritual daughters. They travel from all over the country (to here) and we would pray. So, this(publicity) is not something that just happened.
Why did you choose America?
Because that’s the burden I have right now. There was a time I worried about Cameroun. I did a lot of work in Cameroun when I got saved newly, around 2003 to 2005. We still have a Christian resource center (there). In Cameroun, we did crusades, established a Christian resource center, orphanage program, scholarship for students. I had a lot of burden for Cameroun then but the burden kind of lifted. At the time I got saved (born again) Cameroun was still relatively dark. Christianity was not that popular, especially born again (Christianity). But right now if you go and drive around (you will notice the difference). At that time God really used us to bring about awakening in the country, me and other pastors that were praying. I remember around 2006, 2007 and 2008 I also did a lot of work in the Bahamas as I used to go to the island a lot, places like Jamaica. Right now, in the past few years, the burden has been to fight for America. Like I said, I’m a servant of God. My times are in His hands, my life belongs to Him. Whatever he wants to do with my life, I’m ready. I remember seeing a prophecy that was given by late Deacon Clement several years ago that God was going to call an Esther in this generation. Incidentally my name is Stella which is the same as Esther by interpretation. God raises people at different times. Right now, the focus is America and that’s why God promoted me.
So, it wasn’t politics, the Washington address where you spoke in support of Hydroxychloquine? I mean, how did you come to be part of that team in Washington DC?
I met those doctors…we had been arguing a lot. One of the doctors that put the program together with one other lady, invited us to come. When Coronavirus broke, we started treating patients and they were getting better and we were having arguments about hydroxychloroquine (not being an effective drug or otherwise for coronavirus). We were arguing online and that’s how we all got to meet. They were having a meeting in (Washington) DC; they had had one before, I wasn’t part of that. Just a week before they were to have another meeting in DC, I sent out a tweet that I refuse to be caged by fake science, that I had treated over 300 patients at that time and none of them had died, so all these studies that are done by experts that are paid by big pharma(ceutical companies) are fake science and I refuse to be caged by fake science. It caused a lot of fracas and within three days, it generated 5000 to 7000 retweets. There were many retweets and likes and that’s how I got invited to the program. So we went there. Other doctors were also invited. But when I was going, I also knew that…. because I told everybody when I was leaving that something’s about to happen, something’s about to break. From maybe March to about April/May, I was trying to get doctors to understand that Hydroxychloroquine works. But you had some doctors saying, no, it doesn’t work. I found it curious because if I tell you I had treated 100 patients and nobody died and people are dying in hospital, don’t you think you should ask me what I’m doing? On the contrary, they were fighting me, (saying) they were going to report me to the (medical) board, they were going to shut me down. So I thought it’s no longer a science battle but propaganda battle. At that point, I decided I was done playing the nice guy. You can’t come to a street fight with a suit. So, that’s kind of how my mindset changed. And before we went to Washington DC, we had had two town hall meetings with one of the state senators here in town( Houston-Texas). We were meeting and talking and I thought it was about street fight. I would just go online and propagate my message. That was my mindset before going to Washington DC.
So, you knew the Washington event could be your moment?
No, I knew that I was done trying to be nice. So, I was telling everybody, if they lock me up in DC, come bail me out. So, even when we got there, I was telling the doctors; I said, you guys be nice doctors, I’m going to bring in the street fight. That’s where I was and that’s where I am right now. I was really upset. When you see people come into your clinic and can’t breathe and you treat them and they get well and you hear about their family members that died, it hurts. (In Washington) other doctors were trying to calm me down. I told them, don’t calm me down.
That’s interesting. How would you describe their response after you spoke?
When I had the microphone…I think God had a hand in it because when I spoke that day, fear broke over the nations of the world. That was a watershed moment for this COVID thing. Before that, many people thought COVID was a death sentence. When I stood up, I said, you don’t have to die, COVID has a cure. Even though Texas Board says I should stop saying cure but effective treatment. So, with the anointing of God upon me, when I spoke that day, it broke something. That is why it became a phenomenon. They said in the history of viral videos, no video has gone that far that fast. Within six hours, they had like 18 million views. Because the world needed the message, the world needed the message of hope. That is actually what happened. So, of course, immediately, the devil jumped into it and CNN and other people started attacking me. But you know how beautiful this thing is, is that they did not question my credentials, I’m a doctor; they did not even question whether I treated patients or not, there were other doctors there (at the conference) that had also treated many patients(with hydroxychloroquine)…and they all said the same thing. It’s just the way I said it that stood me out. So several things happened, one of which was that it went viral like crazy and some people said I was being paid by (President Donald) Trump, some said I was not a real doctor, weird (argument). I did not, in my wildest dream, expect that kind of response. People were sending it to each other and somebody called me and said Oh, Dr Stella guess what? I think Rudy Giuliani just retweeted you. I was like, what? The interesting thing about it was that, when this thing happened, they just cut out my video, my portion of it, what I said, and that was what started trending. Then somebody said Don jnr, the President’s son retweeted you, I was like what, then someone said, Stella the President has retweeted you, I was like wow, this is major. Then boom, Twitter took it down and blocked the President. Then some media sent out their attack dogs. They went online, began digging for information about me and my ministry. They saw a message I did on spirit husband and wife and, oh my God, they called me demon. They said I believe in witches. Some called me a witch doctor but it was so crazy as they were playing my messages. That aroused curiosity. Within like a week, a message that had like 175,000 views, went up to almost 750,000 views. People were watching my messages. By then I had done a message on fasting that had like 5000 views. It went up to like 50,000 to 60,000. People were busy viewing all the solid words I had been preaching for years.
So, how do you feel about the link to politics?
No, it’s not politics. It’s deeper than that. I would say that, this whole thing about COVID, the democrats are just being opportunistic. Let me tell you why. A friend of mine calls me from Trinidad and Tobago. Their people are sick there and are dying and they will not give them hydroxychloroquine. Why? What has Trinidad and Tobago got to do with American politics?
Are you Republican?
Yes, I’m republican. I’ve been a republican since (Barack)Obama’s time as president. Obama is the one that turned me into a republican.
The first year I supported Obama. When I saw his policies, I saw that they were anti-God, anti Christianity. He promoted gay, he sanctioned abortion, a lot of violence. I’m a child of God so I’m not gonna vote for any party that promotes all these evil. So, it’s actually during Obama’s time that I became a republican. I cannot support a party that supports gay marriage. I’m not saying that there are no gays in the Republican Party, I’m just saying that we should not legalize sin. I’m a child of God first before anything else: before I’m black, female and African. A lot of Africans or African Americans get caught up in the Democratic Party because they’ve just being caged that way, but really I don’t think African Americans should be in the Democratic Party. First the democrats are the ones that would not abolish slavery. Democrats are the ones that started the Ku Klux Klan and stuffs like that. The democrats are the ones that keep black people in slavery right now. Think about it. It was Bill Clinton and Joe Biden that started the law that got a lot of black people locked up. Even if it was stealing cigarettes. Bill Clinton called them super predators and locked up a whole lot of our children. It is actually this President (Trump) through the first step act prison reform that has brought people out of prison made possible by Clinton and Biden. I’m just a conservative. I believe in small government. I believe people should work for themselves. I believe welfare should be a stepping stone, not something to keep people down. I saw a lot of Medicaid patients. I saw parents that got on Medicaid and welfare and were never able to get off. It’s slavery. If you are on Medicaid and have three children, you get 12 dollar an hour job, they cut off the welfare check, food stamp and whatever, at the end of the day, your 12 dollar an hour job does not feed you. So, a lot of parents will just stay on the Medicaid because it’s easier. You see women with four children on Medicaid and food stamps, by the time the children turn 18, grown up, you find the women in their 50s with no profession. So I believe that if you are going to be on Medicaid and food stamp, they need to train you to give you a way out. These affect black Americans mostly. Another thing that upsets me is, if you look at most of the inner cities, planned parenthood and all these abortion clinics are mostly in black (neighborhoods). One million black babies get killed every year and that’s not acceptable to me. That’s why I’m a conservative. With the welfare, that’s how they destroyed the black family. If a woman has four children, they get welfare as long as the husband is not there with them. So, they give the women jobs, give them welfare checks and just emasculate the black family. I believe it is not a good thing for black people. What the democrats have dished out to black people is mental slavery.
Who would you support in the November election?
Of course I’m a Trump supporter. I voted for Trump before and I will vote for him again.
You don’t share the view by some people that he’s not a good president?
Oh no, he’s been amazing. He’s been the best President America has had for…especially with everything that has been thrown at him, he’s actually the most amazing president America has had. Trump told us in March or April that we should use Hydroxychloroquine. If they had started using Hydroxychloroquine like Trump said, this pandemic would have been stopped in its tracts. It’s the democrats, media and people that want to make money that said people shouldn’t use it.
The pharmaceutical companies, have they come after you?
I’m a child of God. I’m God’s battle, I’m protected by heaven.
Do you feel threatened in any way?
Hell no, I’m not scared of nobody. I don’t feel threatened, I’m not scared of nobody.
You are a medical doctor. I understand you practiced in Nigeria before relocating to the US. Why did you relocate?
Because it’s my destiny. I always knew I would move to the US after finishing medical school. I wanted to be a doctor when I was four. By the time I was eleven/twelve, I knew I was going to go to the US.
You didn’t leave because of the condition of service in Africa?
No, when I finished medical school, I had jobs that could have made me stay but I just knew my destiny was to come to the US. When I left initially I went to London. I was in London for about three/four months before coming to the US. So, it had nothing to do with condition of service, it was just destiny.
How would you compare America and Europe and Africa in regard to medicine?
It’s just like every thing else between America, Africa and Europe. Is it just medicine? What else do you want to compare, is it food, is it wealth, work? But you know what? The truth is that Africa is rising more than a lot of people know. (I know) because I’m a spiritual person. Right now, the devil has worked so hard to put God out of Europe, the devil is working so hard right now to put God out of America and then, all of a sudden, God moved to Africa. Revival is coming out of Africa. African churches are praying and seeking God more, and that is what is raising Africa up. In this pandemic, Africa barely got touched.
There was an interesting quote ascribed to you. You were quoted as saying in a magazine that Satan has a hut in Africa, an apartment in Europe and mansion in America. Is that true?
Yes. The way the devil is packaging America is so subtle. Do you see anybody in Nigeria going about saying that God doesn’t exist? Even the witches know God exist in Nigeria. In America, (many) people don’t think God exists anymore. Satanism in America is alive and well and it’s packaged in movies and in clothes. The country is more bewitched than any country right now. So, the devil has a mansion in America, an apartment in Europe and visits Africa every now and then.
What is your view about the conflict in Cameroon, the Ambazonia struggle?
First of all, the President of Cameroon has been there since I was a teenager. I was like maybe 12 when he came. I’m in my fifties now. That does not make any kind of sense, that somebody should be a president of a country for that long. So, if Ambazonia people want to separate and form their own country… if you go back to Camerounian history, when western Cameroun chose to unite with eastern Cameroun, there was supposed to be two separate states growing up as one, governed by representation from both sides. Somewhere along the line, Western Cameroun has been marginalized. That’s where they have the oil, they have resources. So it’s a battle of resources. Sometimes, I look at it and heave, ‘cry, my beloved country.’ The war is needless but that’s what it takes sometimes to gain freedom. Freedom is never given, it’s always fought for. I feel for the blood of people that are shed in the country. But I hope that by the grace of God, Cameroun will be free. I’m not part of the Ambazonia struggle not because I have anything against it but my battle right now is America.
You established Rehoboth Medical Center?
Yes, it’s my clinic.
How did you do that?
I came to this country in 1992. I did a residency in pediatric, after doing general practice back home(in Nigeria). When I finished padiatric residency, I went to Alexandria (US), opened up practice and did a lot of work with children but also started working in the emergency room. So, I did not only keep my skills as a general practitioner, I took to urgent care. Three years ago, I kind of stopped doing … to (focus on) emergency. I acquired the clinic after a doctor (owner) passed away and the family sold it to me. But Rehoboth is a name in the book of Genesis that means God has made a room for me and I will be fruitful in the land.
Was that the clinic’s name before you acquired it?
No, the former name was General Care Clinic.
What’s your staff make-up like?
I have a lot of Hispanics, I have Africans. I’m not very tribalistic. My daughters that live with me in the house are from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Liberia and Jamaica. They all live with me and they are all my daughters.
Tell me more about your family?
I’m the first of eight children. My brothers and sisters are doing well. My brother is a doctor in Germany. I have two brothers and one sister here. The youngest is in her 30s. I have three daughters, one of who came with the marriage (step child). My daughters are 25 and 23. My 25 year old is in med school, my 23 year old is doing masters in psychology. Their father passed away when they were like 8 and 10.
Was he Cameroonian?
Yes, he was Camerounian.
When did you establish your church?
It was opened in 2015. We got flooded twice and we cleaned it up.
How’s the membership?
We are a prayer church. People come and go. In the past one year, probably over a 1000 different people have come here. We are a rescue center, we are not a typical church. Our core members are few. People come for prayers, for deliverance; they come from other churches, pastors come. So, we are kind of a rescue center, not a typical church.
How would you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as a woman after God’s heart.
**Reporting for this story was made possible by Religion News Foundation.
– Oct. 23, 2020 @ 10:28 GMT |