On Sunday June 6, the world woke up to news of the passing of charismatic preacher and televangelist Temitope Balogun Joshua, better known as TB Joshua.
Tributes are flowing in for televangelist TB Joshua of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, who has died in Nigeria aged 57.
Details surrounding his death are still not available but it is understood Joshua died on Saturday night in Lagos, shortly after hosting a meeting with partners of his TV channel, Emmanuel TV.
Joshua was known as a fiery preacher and had followers worldwide. He used his TV channel to attract a large number of Christians from across the world. The TV channel, which is run by Joshua’s church, is one of the largest Christian broadcast stations, available on DStv channel 390 and digitally on social networks.
Joshua was one of Nigeria’s most influential and wealthiest pastors whose followers include prominent politicians and business leaders from across Africa and around the world.
Temitope Balogun Joshua, known as T.B., founded the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Nigeria. He died on Saturday after speaking in a meeting on his television channel, Emmanuel TV.
His death was announced on his official Facebook page, which said his last words were “Watch and pray.”
The news of T.B. Joshua’s death came as a shock to many. Several people have been expressing their thoughts on Twitter and Instagram. As of now, no official statement has been released by the family. However, the news of his death was confirmed by several media outlets.
Prophet T.B. Joshua passed away one week before his 58th birthday, his church said in a statement Sunday.
“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,” T.B. Joshua Ministries wrote in a Facebook post.
“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 father of three was one of Africa’s most influential preachers with millions of television and social media followers. More than 15,000 people from Nigeria and abroad attend his Sunday services.
Many African presidents, senior government officials, international football players, musicians and other high-profile guests have worshipped in his church.
They include the late Zimbabwean politician Morgan Tsvangirai, Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema, Malawian president Binguwa Mutharika, late John Pombe Magufuli of Tanzania, Salvir Kiir of Sudan and the late African National Congress (ANC) leader, Winnie Mandela.
TB Joshua had more than 3.5 million followers on Facebook, and before his YouTube channel was shut down in April for videos that were anti-homosexuality, it had close to 1 million followers.
The ongoing support for him and his ministry can be explained by understanding the theological tradition in which he operated.
Joshua’s cause of death was not stated. Since his rise to prominence in the late 1990s, the popular preacher was renowned for his philanthropy, prosperity teachings, and purported healings and miracles.
But one of the pastor’s lawyers Olalekan Ojo also confirmed his death.
“I confirm that the man of God, Pastor TB Joshua passed away on Saturday after his evening programme,” Ojo told AFP news agency.
T.B. Joshua’s friend Femi Fani-Kayode shed some light on his death and confirmed the news.
He wrote: “The passing of my brother TB Joshua saddens me deeply. At 3.00 am this morning I was told by one of his daughters that this was fake news & I tweeted as much. Sadly I was misled. 5 minutes ago the same person called me & confirmed the story.”
SCOAN plays host to dozens of international guests, and local celebrities, who visit the worship center for prayers.
Last August, he healed people stricken with Covid-19 through a virtual prayer session.
He prayed repeatedly: “By the power of the Holy Ghost, by the power of the Holy Spirit, that affliction — that Covid-19 — be flushed out! Those viruses in their internal organs be flushed out!”
He offered what he said were anointing stickers and anointing water. When the Ebola virus broke out in West Africa eight years ago, he sent 4,000 bottles of holy water to Sierra Leone.
In 2013, four people died at a branch of his church in Ghana and 30 were injured in a stampede after his television channel announced that his anointing water would be given out free.
Dozens died in 2014 when a guesthouse at his headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria, collapsed, and church workers initially prevented emergency officials from helping rescue people trapped in the rubble.
Emmanuel TV, the broadcast arm of the church, airs in Africa on DSTV — a satellite service owned by South African firm MultiChoice. Joshua’s ministrations and humanitarian outreaches in different parts of the world are showcased on the popular video platform.
Joshua was not without controversy. In recent weeks, his YouTube channel was deactivated after he posted videos claiming to ‘cure’ gay members of his congregation of their sexuality.
In 2011, Joshua was listed by Forbes as the third-richest pastor in Nigeria with an estimated net worth of between $10 – $15 million. SCOAN, however, denied the claims.
Tributes have been pouring in following the passing of the famous preacher. A Nigerian social commentator, Japheth Omojuwa, has described Joshua’s death as “a big loss to Nigeria.”
“TB Joshua is a big loss to Nigeria and the Ikotun end of Lagos especially. His church is one of the major points of tourist attractions to Nigeria and I can’t begin to imagine the impact of his death on businesses, people and the less privileged in that area. May he Rest in Peace,” Omojuwa tweeted Sunday morning.
In 2014, a building on SCOAN’s premises collapsed, killing more than 100 people — most of whom were foreigners from South Africa.
Joshua was raised in poverty and managed to turn his life with his hard work and putting his faith in God.
Over the years, T.B. Joshua worked in different sectors. He dropped out of secondary school in his first year and decided to work on a poultry farm. Later, he decided to get back to his studies and attended evening classes. During this time, he also taught young children.
He ultimately decided to start a ministry with a mere eight members. With time, it grew and more people joined in. To date, T.B. Joshua is known for him humble behavior and his ability to view and treat everyone equally.
He has made several appearances on television and often used his social media to keep his followers updated about what he was doing. As of now, no official statement regarding his death has been released by his family.