In the early hours of Monday, January 8, the British Broadcasting Corporation released a three-part documentary where former disciples of the founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, the late Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua, popularly known as TB Joshua, accused the deceased prophet of various forms of physical abuse, manipulation, and performing fake miracles.
They had also accused him of allegedly raping women, and orchestrating forced abortions in the church.
Even before his death at the age of 57 in June 2021, two months after he was said to have suffered a stroke, the prophet had been plagued with many controversies.
The former disciples, in the three-part documentary which lasted for over 50 minutes each, also accused the prophet of covering up the real reason behind the collapse of the church’s guest house in 2014. Official data pegs those killed in the collapse at 116 of which 84 persons were said to be South Africans.
But despite the damning revelations by the late cleric’s former disciples from different nationalities including South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Nigeria, followers of the prophet seem unperturbed by the accusations.
Business as usual
Contrary to the reactions the BBC documentary generated on social media platforms over the allegations, the Ikotun-Egbe area of Lagos State where the church is located buzzed with commercial activities when Saturday PUNCH visited the area on Wednesday. People went about their businesses as though they were unaware of the controversies that have trailed the man even three years after his death.
The different shops opposite the church selling different items like clothes, and drinks operated like nothing had happened. Music blared from a restaurant close to the church as some men walked in to have some bottles of beer to quench their thirst occasioned by the heat wave that followed a brief rain.
Also, a betting shop was packed full of young men. Nothing seemed off in the area. For residents of the area, it was life as usual.
Large photos of the late prophet and his wife were seen on T. B. Joshua Street which leads into the church.
Although services were only held on Sundays in the church, adherents of the late prophet’s doctrine were allowed to pray on the church street while the church itself remained locked.
Newsmen saw some of the worshippers praying in front of the late cleric’s photos. While some were seen praying loudly on the street without their footwear, others were seen touching the faces of the deceased prophet and his wife displayed in a large banner on the street before beginning their prayers.
Only church workers were seen going in and out of the church.
Saturday PUNCH findings showed that there are two types of workers in the church: disciples, who worked directly with the late prophet and also lived in the church, and other workers employed to discharge responsibilities in different departments like sanitation, medicals, and food, among others.