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Twitter/TB Joshua
Twitter/TB Joshua
World News

Christian evangelist, TB Joshua, dies suddenly after preaching

by Donna Birrell

Tributes are being paid to one of Africa's most influential evangelists, TB Joshua, who has died at the age of 57.

Reports say the Nigerian preacher died on Saturday after conducting a live broadcast at an evening service in Lagos. 

TB Joshua ran a Christian television station Emmanuel TV and his services attracted tens of thousands of followers. 

The cause of his death hasn't been made public.

TB Joshua, who was known to his followers as "the Prophet", founded the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), a Christian megachurch that runs the Emmanuel TV station from Lagos. According to the organisation, more than 15,000 members would attend its weekly Sunday service.

The church issued a statement after his death:

"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."

Joshua had a large social media presence with 3,500,000 fans on Facebook and over a million followers to his Emmanuel TV YouTube channel, making it the world's most viewed Christian ministry on the platform.

Since his rise to prominence in the late 1990s, the preacher was renowned for his philanthropy and purported healings and miracles. But his ministry was sometimes controversial. In April, YouTube suspended his account due to allegations of hate speech after a complaint over videos showing the preacher conducting prayers to "cure" gay people.

Facebook also removed at least one post showing a woman being slapped while TB Joshua said he was casting out a "demonic spirit".

In 2014, one of his churches collapsed, killing at least 116 people, including many South Africans.

A coroner in a Lagos court said "the church was culpable because of criminal negligence", but Joshua never faced any charges.

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.

Speaking to Premier, Gospel star Dr Sonnie Badu who leads a Church in Atlanta, paid tribute to TB Joshua:

"It's been a sad day for us as we heard that God's servant, TB Joshua, has gone to be with the Lord. Personally, I learned something from him, even though I never met him, and what I learned from him was focus."

A Nigerian social commentator, Japheth Omojuwa, has described Joshua's death as "a big loss to Nigeria."

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