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World News

More abuse claims emerge against TB Joshua

by Donna Birrell

More claims have emerged about the late Nigerian megachurch leader TB Joshua.

The latest allegations into the leader of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (Scoan) include evidence that he hid dead bodies and intimidated families to cover up his role in the collapse of a building at his church in Lagos.

At least 116 people died when the building, used to house pilgrims, collapsed in 2014.

The allegations are part of a two year BBC investigation into the preacher who had a global following of millions before his death in 2021.

TB Joshua had said the building collapse was caused by a low flying aircraft, but an inquiry found that structural failure was the reason. It had also been built without proper planning permission.

Church insiders claim lives could have been saved if TB Joshua had responded promptly to the incident, but instead they say he blocked emergency services from accessing the site for hours. He was charged with criminal negligence but refused to attend court.

The BBC investigation earlier accused TB Joshua, the leader of one of the world’s biggest Christian evangelical churches, of abusing dozens of people over a twenty year period at a secretive compound in Lagos.

Dozens of ex-Synagogue Church of all Nations members – some of them British - allege atrocities, including rape and forced abortions were widespread at the site.

The Synagogue Church of All Nations did not respond to the allegations but said previous claims have been unfounded.

Francesca McDowall who is a survivor of spiritual abuse at a Pentecostal church in the UK, has been giving her reaction to Premier:

“I don't find it surprising because there have been many cases that have hit the headlines, but also many cases that have never been shared and never been spoken about.

“I was involved in a Pentecostal church here in the UK for several years. And it began to really take over and control my life where I didn't do many things outside of that organisation. I was always also asked to do things that were inappropriate financially. I wasn't given a voice or perhaps given a choice to make decisions about my own life. But interestingly, at the time, I didn't see anything wrong with it, because I was committed, passionate, wanting to serve God and do everything possible. But other people had some concerns.”

Francesca now runs coaching support for others who have been spiritually abused:

“When I started sharing my story publicly, a few years ago, I was shocked at how many people came and found me with either similar stories or other types of things that have happened, because so many things are kept in secret. There’s a lot of shame and guilt around things that have happened to us. But it's really widespread, and it definitely extends to lots of different types of churches, and also lots of different individuals.

“I think some of the leaders that carry out spiritual abuse are often very charismatic, and loud and loving, and a lot of the people in their church don't experience that side of them, they don't see or experience toxicity. So when those who come forward and make an allegation, or raise a concern, they're often disbelieved because they're in the minority. That definitely happens. But also things are kept so much in the secret, and sometimes threats are made, people are shamed into thinking that this is all in their head, and there's nothing wrong with it. It’s really, really complex.”

The Synagogue Church of All Nations has not responded to the allegations but said previous claims have been unfounded.

Premier has also contacted Emmanuel TV, Scoan’s Christian TV channel, but hasn’t yet received a reply.

 

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