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“It was a cult”: woman who says she survived two years under TB Joshua speaks to Premier

by Premier Journalist

A woman who claims she was abused by the late megachurch leader TB Joshua has shared her story with Premier Christian News.

Her report comes in the wake of allegations that he abused dozens of people at a secretive church compound in Nigeria over a 20-year period.

Joshua, who died in 2021, was the leader of the Synagogue Church of All Nations and attracted a following of millions of people around the world.

Numerous people who say Joshua abused them have since come forward as part of a two-year BBC investigation.

Anneka left the UK to visit his church in Lagos as a seventeen year old. She tells Premier she initially planned a short-term trip to Nigeria but was coerced into staying for two and a half years.

“I heard that there were miracles and 'Signs and Wonders' happening in Lagos, Nigeria. I was really seeking the promises of God, and to me this was a place where that was happening. So without any hesitation, I left,” she said.

“Little did I know that it was not a church I was actually attending. It was a cult. And the safe place I thought I was going was actually the most dangerous.”

Anneka says she experienced traumatising sexual abuse, brainwashing and mind reform whilst staying at his notorious compound.

“I initially went to be a visitor, almost like a pilgrimage. I was eventually asked by TB Joshua to stay and to live there, and to essentially give my life up for his ministry.”

Anneka explains that as an impressionable young Christian she saw the invitation to stay as an “honour” and an opportunity to “sacrifice her life for God”.

“It was as if Jesus himself was asking me to stay,” she added.

Anneka says she never questioned the abuse or controlling behaviour including members of the church being advised to “cut off friends and family.

“It was phrased in a biblical way and in that extreme environment, I thought what I was doing was biblical.”

Describing the alleged sexual abuse she experienced at the hands of TB Joshua, Anneka said: “He told me that it was his private time with me and was for me only. And so I believed that along with everything else he told me.”

She recalls seeing other girls and men also heading to private meetings with TB Joshua and explains that they were very much under his control – all outside influences were removed and members were not allowed to leave the compound.

“At the time, again, everything was justified biblically; everything was framed as if we were soldiers in training for Christ.”

She told Premier it's taken a long time to get over the trauma of her experience, as well as to "fight for this truth to come out".  She says it's taken immense bravery, "not only for me but for the hundreds of men and women who were scared to speak out."

The Synagogue Church of All Nations has not responded to the recent allegations but says previous claims against the church have been unfounded.

Premier News has also contacted Emmanuel TV, the church's TV channel, but hasn’t yet received a reply.

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