The death of influential and controversial Nigerian televangelist, Temitope Balogun Joshua, popularly known as TB Joshua who claimed prayers could cure AIDS at the age of 57 has sent shock waves around the world and in Nigeria in particular.
According to a Facebook post Sunday morning from his followers of the Synagogue, Church of All Nations, SCOAN which he founded, the renowned preacher slept in the lord Saturday June 5. Part of the message read: “God has taken his servant… he spent his last moments on earth at the service of God…”
The renowned preacher died after a live broadcast, but the cause of death has not been made public.
TB Joshua was very popular across Africa and Latin America and followed by over three million fans on his channel, Emmanuel TV and social media.
He rose to prominence in Africa in the 1990s, as worshippers flocked to his services in Lagos, Nigeria, from all over the world each week to register for prayer lines.
Though widely appreciated, his teachings came in for criticism with Forbes magazine once dubbing him “Nigeria’s most controversial clergyman”.
YouTube suspended his account in April after a rights group made allegations of hate speech.
The late pastor also repeatedly made unverified claims to have healed all manner of illnesses, including HIV/AIDS.
In 2014, one of his churches collapsed, killing at least 116 people, most of whom were South Africans.
A coroner in a Lagos court said at the time that “the church was culpable because of criminal negligence”, but Joshua never faced any charges as he refused to appear in court.
The late preacher will equally be remembered for the numerous humanitarian and charity works across Africa.
“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.” A Nigerian commentator lamented.
TB Joshua’s mysterious birth
The founder of the SCOAN was born in June 12, 1963.
According to TB Joshua’s official biography, unusual circumstances surrounded his birth. He said he spent 15 months in his mother’s womb and narrowly avoided death after a quarry explosion near his house sent rocks through its roof just seven days after his birth.
It is also alleged that his birth was ‘prophesied’ 100 years prior.
The philanthropist would have turned 58 years old Saturday June 12.
He is survived by his wife, Evelyn, and their three children.