Sunday, June 6, 2021 4:08 am
By Nehru Odeh
Temitope Balogun Joshua, frontline Nigerian preacher, televangelist, and founder of The Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) has been reported dead. The clergyman, popularly known as Prophet T.B. Joshua, who was famous for his miracles, philanthropy and prophecies, died in Lagos on Saturday evening, shortly after concluding a programme at his church. He was 57.
Though the cause of death was not known at the time of filing this report, family sources told The Gazette his body had been deposited at the morgue and was awaiting autopsy.
Joshua, born and raised in Arigidi Akoko in Ondo State, Nigeria, was known across the globe as a miracle worker and fiery preacher on television who used his platform to attract many in search of healing from across the globe. Many prominent individuals, including presidents, celebrities and politicians visited his church headquarters in Lagos for prayers and, also, to seek the face of God.
Known for his humanitarian works, he also provided charity and scholarships to many from far and near. Emmanuel TV, an organ of SCOAN, is one of Nigeria’s largest Christian broadcast stations with global reach via digital and terrestrial switches.
Joshua was steeped in controversy as many doubted not only the genuineness of his faith but also the source of his healing powers, which he attributed to Jesus Christ. In 2014, his church was at the centre of a controversy and multi-national investigation following the collapse of a section of his church headquarters in Lagos, which left at least 115 people dead, 84 of them South Africans and many more injured. However, the highly respected man of God denied allegations of negligence. A trial was still underway prior to his death.
Still, many also believed he was a genuine man of God, what with his miracles, prophecies and humanitarian works. Aside from the healing powers of his prayers, they claim to have been healed through ‘anointing water’ that he had prayed over and given to those who are unable to physically attend his church in Lagos. Others claim they were protected from deadly incidents because they had the water with them.
In 2013, four people died in a stampede in a Ghanaian branch of SCOAN when an unadvertised service where the water was being distributed drew huge crowds far beyond the churches capacity, bringing Ghana’s capital city Accra almost to a standstill.
Joshua also stirred another controversy when he claimed his anointing water could cure the deadly disease Ebola. He subsequently sent 4,000 bottles of the water alongside a cash gift of $50,000 to Ebola victims in Sierra Leone.
Joshua was not only controversial as a miracle worker, but also his birth and childhood was tinged with unusual circumstances. He said in his biography that he spent 15 months in his mother’s womb and narrowly escaped death after a quarry explosion near his house sent rocks through its roof, just seven days after his birth. It is also alleged that his birth was prophesied 100 years before it occurred.