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TB Joshua raped, tortured members, performed fake miracles – BBC investigation

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Prophet TB Joshua of SCOAN says Nigeria will not break up

Over 25 people have given eyewitness accounts on allegations of sexual assault, physical abuse, faked miracles, and trauma allegedly perpetrated by the late Nigerian pastor, Temitope Joshua, popularly known as TB Joshua, the BBC reports Monday.

Joshua, one of Africa’s most powerful religious leaders and wealthiest pastors, had the entire world at his disposal throughout his lifetime.

He founded the Synagogue Church of All Nations, a 12-story structure located in Lagos State’s Ikotun neighborhood, where he lived with many of his followers.

Joshua was renowned for his miracles, which ‘delivered’ people, followers, and visitors from any ailment, ranging from cancer and HIV/AIDS to chronic migraines and blindness.

Joshua’s healings drew the attention of a large global audience in evangelical churches across Europe and Africa in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

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Many of his followers were drawn to his benevolence, but the majority came for his ”so-called” miracles.

Chronicle NG reports that the clergy, born in 1963, died on Saturday, June 5, 2021, a week before his 58th birthday.

The cause of his death was not revealed.

According to a statement from the church, the clergy spent his final moments on earth serving God.

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However, the BBC stated that it conducted a two-year investigation in partnership with an international media platform called Open Democracy, which included more than 15 BBC journalists from three continents.

According to the report, former sources estimated that Joshua earned tens of millions of dollars from pilgrimage and other revenue streams such as fundraising, DVD sales, and stadium appearances abroad.

The probe focused on charges of sexual assault, physical mistreatment, solitary imprisonment, and phony miracles, among others.

“More than 25 eyewitnesses and alleged victims, from the UK, Nigeria, Ghana, the US, South Africa, and Germany, have provided accounts of what it was like inside Joshua’s compound, with the most recent experiences in 2019.

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“Testimony from dozens of survivors suggests Joshua was abusing and raping young women from around the world several times a week for nearly 20 years,” the report noted.

Rae, a 21-year-old female Briton who was one of Joshua’s ‘disciples,’ an elite group of followers who served and resided within his facility, described her ordeal.

She was studying graphic design at a university in Brighton, United Kingdom, in 2002.

Carla, a close friend of Rae’s, told how they traveled to Nigeria in quest of a mystery healer who appeared to heal people with his hands.

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“He was a Christian clergyman with a black beard and white robes. His name was T.B. Joshua. His supporters referred to him as “the Prophet.”

Rae and Carla intended to visit his church, the SCOAN, for only one week. But Rae never returned home. She had moved to Joshua’s compound.

“I left her there,” says Carla, tears flowing freely. “Never will I ever forgive myself for that.

“For me, it was like she died, but I couldn’t grieve her,” Carla revealed.

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Rae indicated in her account that she was gay and believed that getting treated by Joshua would solve her situation.

She narrated, “I was gay, and I didn’t want to be.” “I thought, Well, maybe this is the answer to my problems. Maybe this man can straighten me out. If he prays for me, I won’t be gay anymore.”

Rae narrated the moment she stepped foot into the synagogue, saying, “I had an involuntary reaction. I just broke down in floods of tears.”

She claimed that at that point, Joshua chose her to be a “disciple.”

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She had hoped that the clergyman would “cure” her sexuality and teach her under his supervision, but her wish did not come true.

“We all thought we were in heaven, but we were in hell,” she added, “and in hell, terrible things happen.”

Rae described how she suffered psychological anguish for two years, during which she was barred from leaving the property and no one inside was allowed to speak to her, adding that she tried suicide five times.

Many of the victims reported that it happened regularly—up to two or four times per week—during their stay in the facility. Some people reported violent rapes that left them fighting to breathe or bleeding.

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Many disciples believed they were the only ones being assaulted and were afraid to tell the other disciples what was going on, even though they were all encouraged to report on each other.

Rae stated that it’s “extremely difficult to understand how somebody can go through psychological abuse to the extent that they lose their critical thinking.”

“I was basically in total isolation… I had a complete breakdown. I tried to commit suicide five times,” she said.

After 12 years inside Joshua’s compound, Rae went to England.

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She had slipped away from the disciples while on a church tour to Mexico, claiming, “He made a huge mistake; he lost control of me.”

Rae remarked that it wasn’t until she departed that she noticed her relatives and friends were sending her emails. She’d never gotten them.

“On the outside, I look normal, but I’m not. This story is like a horror story. It’s like something you watch in fiction, but it’s true,” Rae said while she recalled the tragic trauma and the impacts it’s had on her.

She was disappointed that Joshua did not wait to face the consequences of the atrocities he committed before his death.

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“TB Joshua dying before facing justice for the atrocities he committed has been deeply frustrating. It’s only added to the gross sense of injustice felt by all of us as his victims,” she noted.

The BBC noted that it contacted SCOAN with the allegations in the investigation. They did not respond to them, but they denied previous claims against Joshua.

“Making unfounded allegations against Prophet TB Joshua is not a new occurrence. None of the allegations were ever substantiated,” the church stated.

According to the BBC, former followers have previously attempted to speak out about abuse but have been hushed or discredited by SCOAN, with two alleging physical assault.

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When the BBC’s Africa Eye was filming outside the church, a security officer shot above the crew’s heads after they refused to hand over their footage, according to the report.

A Nigerian, Bisola, who was also a ‘disciple,’ said that the late pastor raped her many times.

Bisola, who spent 14 years inside the facility, also stated that she was asked to recruit virgin girls into the disciple fold under threat of violence.

“TB Joshua asked me to recruit virgins for him… so that he could bring them into the disciplefold and disvirgin them,” she revealed.

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Bisola revealed to the BBC that courting Westerners was a key tactic employed by Joshua.

“He used the white people to market his brand,” she said.

According to the report, many of the young people who traveled from their home countries to see Joshua in the early 2000s did not buy their airfares.

According to prominent former church insiders, church organizations across England raised money to send pilgrims to Lagos to witness the miracles, and Joshua himself contributed Scottish money.

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Later, once the church was well established, Joshua charged pilgrims a large sum to visit and stay.

Jessica Kaimu, a television journalist in Namibia, claimed that Joshua raped her at the age of 17 in the toilet of his penthouse, just weeks after she became a disciple.

She said that Joshua wasn’t moved by her screams, saying, “I was screaming, and he was whispering in my ear that I should stop acting like a baby… I was so traumatized, I couldn’t cry.”

Kaimu further revealed that she was raped for five years throughout her stay as a disciple.

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Another victim, a woman who craved anonymity, stated that it happened to her twice before the age of 15.

“It was so painful; he violated me. Words cannot properly express it. It scarred me for life,” she said.

The report further disclosed that there were accounts by four of Joshua’s male personal servants who were given the job of clearing up the physical evidence of this abuse.

“We’d never seen anything like that before,” said a journalist who covers African religion, Solomon Ashoms, adding, “The mysteries that he had, the secrets that he carried, [were] what people followed.”

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Another victim, Victoria (not her real name), alleged that she spent more than five years in the facility and that Joshua often hand-picked victims from the church congregation.

Victoria recounted her ordeal, claiming she was singled out while attending Sunday school at the church and was raped in Joshua’s private quarters a few months later after her parents placed her in his care.

She was also recruited later as a resident disciple.

Victoria claimed Joshua ordered some of his most loyal Nigerian disciples to assist in the identification of new victims, referring to the group as the “fishing department.”

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Sihle, a former South African disciple, revealed that she had three forced abortions in the church.

Sihle said, “You are given a concoction to drink, and you get sick. Or they put these metal pieces in your vagina and extract whatever. And you don’t know whether they’re [accidentally] pulling out your womb.”

According to the investigative report, the disciples attended to Joshua’s every need, from massages to dressing and spraying his perfume, when he entered the chamber.

They also put plastic gloves on his hands so he could eat his food without touching any crumbs.

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Agomoh Paul, who was originally Joshua’s number two in the church and departed after ten years, claimed that the entire miracle was staged.

“That guy was a genius. Everything he did was planned out,” Paul stated.

A major part of this planning was the faking of the “miracles,” said Paul, which he noted he oversaw.
He and other sources say that those “cured” had often been paid to perform or exaggerate their symptoms before their supposed healing took place.

He and other sources claim that people who were “cured” were frequently paid to act or exaggerate their symptoms before their alleged healing.

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They claim that in some cases, people were accidentally drugged or given medicine to improve their ailments while attending church and then convinced to testify about their recovery. Others were misled into believing they had tested positive for HIV/AIDS and that Joshua’s efforts had resulted in their virus-free status.

Paul also stated that Joshua “wanted to control everybody, everything. What he was really scrambling for was the control of people’s minds.”

The disciples claimed they were forced to labor long, unpaid hours every day to run all elements of the megachurch. All claim that sleep deprivation was normal, with lights left on in the dormitories at night, according to the investigation.

His widow, Evelyn, leads the church, which is still in operation today.

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Until his demise, Joshua attracted dozens of politicians and celebrities to his church.

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