Proof of widespread abuse and torture by the leader behind one of the world’s biggest Christian Evangelical temples has been uncovered by the BBC.
Many ex-members of the all All Nations Church – five British – allege atrocities, including rape and forced abortions, by Nigeria’s late TB Joshua.
The alleges of maltreatment in a cryptic Lagos compound happened for very nearly 20 years.
The Synagogue Church of All Nations did not respond to the claims, but it did say that previous claims were not true.
TB Joshua, who died in 2021, was a magnetic and a successful evangelist and TV preacher who had a huge worldwide following.
The BBC’s findings over a two-year investigation include:
• Dozens of eyewitness accounts of physical violence or torture carried out by Joshua, including instances of child abuse and people being whipped and chained.
• Numerous women who say they were sexually assaulted by Joshua, with a number claiming they were repeatedly raped for years inside the compound.
• Multiple allegations of forced abortions inside the church following the alleged rapes by Joshua, including one woman who says she had five terminations.
Various accounts enumerating how Joshua faked his “supernatural healings”, which were communicated to a large number of individuals all over the world.
One of the victims, a British woman named Rae, dropped out of Brighton University in 2002 to join the church. She was 21 years old at the time. She spent the next 12 years as one of Joshua’s purported “supporters” inside his labyrinth like substantial compound in Lagos.
She stated to the BBC, “We all thought we were in heaven, but we were in hell, and in hell terrible things happen.”
As per Rae, she was sexually assaulted by Joshua and exposed to a type of isolation for a considerable length of time. The maltreatment was so serious that, she tried taking her life on several occasions inside the compound.
The Synagogue Church of All Nations [Scoan] has a worldwide following, operating a Christian Television slot called Emmanuel television and social media handles with a huge number of watchers. Tens of thousands of pilgrims from Europe, the Americas, South East Asia, and Africa visited the church in Nigeria in the 1990s and early 2000s to watch Joshua perform “healing miracles.”
Somewhere around 150 guests lived with him as pupils inside his compound in Lagos, now and then for quite a long time.
More than 25 former “disciples” spoke to the BBC – from the UK, Nigeria, US, South Africa, Ghana, Namibia and Germany – giving powerful corroborating testimony about their experiences within the church, with the most recent experiences in 2019. Many victims were in their teens when they first joined. In some of the British cases, their transport to Lagos was paid for by Joshua, in co-ordination with other UK churches.
Jessica Kaimu, a member from Namibia, claims her ordeal lasted more than five years. She said that Joshua raped her when she was 17 years old, and that subsequent rapes by TB Joshua led to five forced abortions while she was there.
“These were secondary passage type… clinical medicines that we were going through… it might have killed us,” she told the BBC.
Several other interviewees say they were stripped and beaten with electrical links and pony whips, and regularly denied sleep.
On his demise in June 2021, TB Joshua was hailed as one of the most influential pastors in African history. Rising from poverty, he built an evangelical empire that counted dozens of political leaders, celebrities and international footballers among his associates.
He did, however, attract some controversy during his lifetime when a guesthouse for church pilgrims collapsed in 2014, killing at least 116 people.