Nigerian televangelist TB Joshua raped, tortured his church disciples: BBC probe reveals

A two-year investigation by the BBC, in cooperation with the worldwide media platform Open Democracy, has revealed frightening accusations of widespread abuse and torture within the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), one of the world’s biggest Christian evangelical churches which was led by the late Nigerian televangelist TB Joshua.

TB Joshua, who died in 2021, was a captivating and extremely successful preacher and televangelist with a massive global audience. The probe against him by the BBC has lasted nearly two decades, exposing terrible tales from former church members in many countries.

Over 25 ex-church members’ testimony, including five from the United Kingdom, reveals a horrifying pattern of horrors including rape, forced abortions, and physical assault. The most recent accounts extend back to 2019, with many victims characterizing their experience as similar to being in a cult.

The victims said that they were sexually assaulted by Joshua, with a number claiming they were repeatedly raped for years inside the compound.

Rae, one of the British victims, described what happened when she abandoned her degree at Brighton University in 2002 to join the SCOAN at the age of 21. She reported Joshua’s brutal sexual abuse and protracted solitary detention on the church compound in Lagos.

“We all thought we were in heaven, but we were in hell, and in hell terrible things happen,” she was quoted as saying. Rae’s narrative is similar to those of other interviewees, including Jessica Kaimu from Namibia, who claims Joshua raped her at 17 and forced her to have many abortions.

The probe also discovered instances of Joshua’s phony “miracle healings” and manipulation of followers. Victims described being undressed, beaten with electrical cords and horsewhips, and often denied sleep.

According to the BBC, the crew experienced hostility, including being shot at by church security, while attempting to get the footage in Lagos. At present, Evelyn, Joshua’s widow, leads SCOAN, which continues to function globally.

The allegations of torture in a secluded Lagos facility stretch back nearly 20 years. However, the church has disputed past allegations against TB Joshua, adding, “Making unfounded allegations against Prophet TB Joshua is not a new occurrence. None of the allegations were ever proven.”

The UK Foreign Office, although not explicitly reacting to these specific charges, emphasized its commitment to investigating reports of criminality, including sexual assault, against British nationals abroad.

With millions of followers on social media and a Christian TV program named Emmanuel TV, the Synagogue Church of All Nations enjoys a large global following. During the 1990s and early 2000s, tens of thousands of pilgrims from Europe, the Americas, South East Asia, and Africa visited the church in Nigeria to hear Joshua perform “healing miracles”. At least 150 visitors lived as disciples inside his Lagos property, some for decades.

TB Joshua, who died in June 2021, was regarded as one of the most important preachers in African history. Rising from poverty, he established an evangelical empire that included scores of government figures, celebrities, and international football players.

He did, however, spark controversy during his lifetime when a guesthouse for Catholic pilgrims collapsed in 2014, killing at least 116 people.

This BBC investigation is the first time that many insiders have openly spoken out against the abuse at SCOAN. The disclosures have highlighted serious concerns about religious leaders like TB Joshua wielding unrestrained authority and influence, as well as the necessity for stricter oversight of religious institutions to prevent such abuses.

Source: OpIndia

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