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Nigerian pastor, T. B. Joshua: hundreds of victims alleged

12 January 2024

World Service runs exposé on evangelist after two-year probe


Jessica Kaimu, from Namibia, who tells her story in the documentary

Jessica Kaimu, from Namibia, who tells her story in the documentary

THE late Nigerian TV evangelist T. B. Joshua has been accused of sexually abusing and torturing hundreds of women and girls before his death two years ago.

The BBC reported that, during a two-year investigation into Joshua, it had uncovered multiple accounts of rape, assault, forced abortion, and violence, as well as faked “miracle healings”.

Tens of thousands of worshippers joined his Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in Lagos in the 1990s and 2000s, including many from the UK, who moved to become his disciples after watching his TV channel Emmanuel TV. He claimed to perform miracles, such as healing HIV and curing blindness. He also claimed that he had been in his mother’s womb for 15 months, and that he became a Christian as an unborn baby.

During the Ebola-virus outbreak in Africa, he sent 4000 bottles of “blessed” water to patients with the disease. Four people died trying to get hold of bottles of the water being handed out at an event in Ghana.

The BBC World Service’s investigations unit, BBC Africa Eye, has reported its findings in a three-part television documentary, Disciples: The cult of TB Joshua, produced with the campaign group openDemocracy. The programmes are available on iPlayer and internationally on the World Service’s YouTube channel, and on the podcast World of Secrets, available on BBC Sounds.

BBC Africa Eye spoke to a British woman, Rae, who abandoned her degree at Brighton University to spend 12 years as a “disciple” in a compound in Lagos.

She said: “We all thought we were in heaven, but we were in hell, and in hell terrible things happen.” She said that she was sexually assaulted by Joshua, and placed in solitary confinement for two years, leading her to attempt to take her own life multiple times.

BBC Journeyman PicturesT. B. Joshua in a publicity image for the documentary

Another woman, Jessica Kaimu, from Namibia, told the BBC that she was aged 17 when Joshua first raped her, and that she had had five abortions as a result of subsequent rapes.

Survivors from the UK, Nigeria, the United States, South Africa, Ghana, Namibia, and Germany spoke to the BBC. The British victims were aged between 15 and 21 when they joined the Synagogue Church. Some of those from Nigeria who came forward said that they had been attacked and shot at after speaking out against the abuse. A BBC crew who attempted to film the Lagos compound of the church were fired at by security and detained at gunpoint for hours.

Survivors said that their previous attempts to report the abuse were ignored, including those made to UK police.

When Joshua was alive, the Synagogue Church was found to be criminally negligent after 116 people died when a guest house in the Lagos compound collapsed (News, 19 September 2014). The building had housed foreign tourists, many from South Africa, who had paid to visit the church. Joshua said that the guest house was attacked by an “infrasonic” weapon, which was trying to assassinate him. No one was prosecuted for the collapse.

The Synagogue Church continues to flourish, despite Joshua’s death in 2021, under the leadership of his wife, Evelyn. A spokesman for the church this week said that the BBC allegations were unfounded: “BBC World Service’s investigative unit, codenamed Africa Eye, came out this week with weird and strange episodes of atrocities against the late founder of SCOAN.”

He described the documentary as “Fictional narratives and propaganda . . . which cannot rubbish the indelible footprints of T. B. Joshua’s legacies on earth again.”

A spokesperson for the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said: “We take all reports of crime, including sexual assault and violence against British nationals overseas, very seriously. . . We always encourage British nationals who want to raise rape and sexual assault allegations, whether current or historic, to contact our consular teams who can support them to report these to the authorities.”


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