Temitope Joshua, popularly called T.B. Joshua, one of Africa’s most influential and controversial preachers, is dead. A statement by his Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), suggested that the Televangelist died Saturday.
The statement did not give the cause of his death.
“On Saturday 5th June 2021, Prophet TB Joshua spoke during the Emmanuel TV Partners Meeting: “Time for everything – time to come here for prayer and time to return home after the service.
“God has taken His servant Prophet TB Joshua home – as it should be by divine will. His last moments on earth were spent in the service of God. This is what he was born for, lived for and died for,” the church announced.
However, some members of the church said he looked sickly in the weeks leading to his death. The stoutly built cleric appeared a little emaciated in some of his recent photos.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the news of his death is causing ripples in many Southern African countries, where he has a large following. In Botswana, one journalist told PREMIUM TIMES, the death of the preacher is the main talking point among users of social media with most people leaving positive comments about him.
“He visited Bostwana before and he remains extremely popular here. It is not a surprise that many are actively mourning his death,” Alvin Ntibinyane, a Botswanan journalist, said.
T.B Joshua, a hitherto unknown prophet of the Celestial Church of God Christian denomination in Lagos, rose to become one of the most powerful preachers in the continent with thousands of followers across the continent and beyond.
He courted political leaders, sports stars and entertainment celebrities who attended his church for miracle healings, victory during elections and other matters.
In 2009, days after his victory in the country’s presidential election, late Ghanaian president John Atta Mills, flew to Nigeria for a thanksgiving service at the Synagogue Church. Mr Mills said the preacher had accurately predicted his victory at the poll.
Notable Nigerian sports stars who attended his church at some point for miracle healings include Daniel Amokachi, Kanu Nwankwo, Joseph Yobo, and Ogenyi Onazi.
Mr Joshua also runs a huge philanthropic operation where cash and food items are distributed to indigent members of the public and his church members.
His popularity rose after he set up Emmanuel TV which was used to broadcast the church’s programme and miracle sessions.
In Nigeria, the larger Christian community often keep Mr Joshua and his church at arm’s length over his style of miracle healing, which some claim is not biblical. He however courted some top preachers in the country; one of his closest friends is the televangelist, Chris Oyakhilome.
Apart from not being fully accepted by the larger Christian community in the country, series of controversies thronged the preacher throughout his life. Some former female church members accused him of sexual abuse and exploitation.
Without a doubt, the biggest controversy involving the church happened on September 12, 2014, when an uncompleted storey building in the church’s premises in Ikotun collapsed killing 116 worshipers. No fewer than 84 of those killed were South African nationals.
A Lagos State building agency claimed that the church did not obtain the required permit before adding more floors to the building.
Mr Joshua blamed the collapse on sabotage. He pointed at a low-flying aircraft around the building minutes before the collapse as evidence of an external attack.
BELOW IS OUR INITIAL REPORT ON THE PASTOR’S PASSAGE PUBLISHED AT 6:51A.M. ABOVE UPDATE WAS MADE AT 11.33 AM.
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