BBC Reports that TB Joshua, Megachurch Leader, Sexually Assaulted and Tormented Worshippers

The BBC has uncovered evidence of extensive abuse and torture committed by the founder of one of the largest Christian evangelical churches TB Joshua.

Several former members of the Synagogue Church of all Nations, including five British individuals, have come forward with disturbing allegations of atrocities committed by the late TB Joshua of Nigeria. These allegations include rape and forced abortions.

Reports have emerged of long-standing abuse within a secluded Lagos compound, spanning nearly two decades.

The Synagogue Church of All Nations did not address the allegations, but they mentioned that previous claims have been baseless.

TB Joshua, who passed away in 2021, was a captivating and remarkably accomplished preacher and televangelist with a vast worldwide following.

During a comprehensive two-year investigation, the BBC has uncovered a series of significant findings:

  • Multiple eyewitnesses have reported incidents of physical violence and torture allegedly perpetrated by Joshua, including disturbing accounts of child abuse and individuals being subjected to whipping and chaining.
  • Many women have come forward, alleging that they were victims of sexual assault by Joshua. Some of these women have even stated that they endured years of repeated rape while inside the compound.
  • Reports have emerged of disturbing incidents within the church, involving allegations of forced abortions and sexual assault. One woman has come forward, claiming to have undergone multiple terminations as a result of the alleged rapes committed by Joshua.
  • Several firsthand accounts have emerged revealing the truth behind Joshua’s alleged “miracle healings,” which were widely televised and reached a global audience.

One of the victims, a British woman named Rae, was 21 years old when she decided to leave her degree at Brighton University in 2002 and join the church. For the next 12 years, she resided within Joshua’s intricate concrete compound in Lagos, known as one of his devoted “disciples.”

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“We were under the impression of being in a blissful state, but it turned out to be quite the opposite. Unfortunate events unfolded, and it felt like a living nightmare,” she shared with the BBC.

Rae shares her experience of alleged sexual assault by Joshua and enduring a prolonged period of isolation for two years. The severity of the abuse led her to make multiple suicide attempts within the compound.

The Synagogue Church of All Nations [Scoan] has a worldwide following, running a Christian TV channel called Emmanuel TV and social media networks with a vast number of viewers. During the 1990s and early 2000s, a significant number of pilgrims from various parts of the world made their way to the church in Nigeria to witness Joshua’s remarkable “healing miracles”. Over the years, a significant number of individuals resided within his compound in Lagos, remaining devoted disciples for extended periods of time.

Rae spent a significant amount of time in Joshua’s compound

Over 25 individuals who were once part of the church shared their stories with the BBC. These former members, hailing from various countries including the UK, Nigeria, US, South Africa, Ghana, Namibia, and Germany, provided compelling accounts of their time within the church. Their testimonies, which date as recently as 2019, offer strong support for their shared experiences. A significant number of individuals were in their teenage years when they initially became part of the group. As part of a collaborative effort with other UK churches, Joshua generously covered the transportation costs for some individuals to Lagos.

Rae and several other interviewees drew parallels between their experiences and being in a cult.

Jessica Kaimu, from Namibia, shares that her challenging experience lasted for over five years. According to her, she was only 17 when she experienced the first assault, and unfortunately, she went through several more instances of abuse by TB Joshua, resulting in five forced abortions.

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“We were undergoing some risky medical treatments that could have been life-threatening,” she shared with the BBC.

According to other interviewees, they experienced the horrifying ordeal of being stripped, beaten with electrical cables and horse whips, and constantly deprived of sleep.

Following his passing in June 2021, TB Joshua was widely recognised as a highly influential figure in the history of African pastors. Emerging from a humble background, he established a powerful evangelical network that included numerous influential figures from the political, entertainment, and sports worlds.

During his lifetime, he faced criticism for an unfortunate incident in 2014 when a guesthouse for church pilgrims collapsed, resulting in the tragic loss of at least 116 lives.

More on TB Joshua and allegations

An investigation conducted by the BBC in collaboration with international media platform openDemocracy has brought to light the testimonies of several former church insiders, marking the first time they have spoken on the record. They claim to have dedicated years to sounding the alarm, only to be effectively silenced.

Several individuals in Nigeria have reported being subjected to physical violence, including one incident involving gunfire, after publicly denouncing mistreatment and sharing videos with serious allegations on YouTube.

In March 2022, a BBC crew faced an unfortunate incident while trying to capture footage of the church’s Lagos compound from a public street. They were unexpectedly fired at by the church’s security and subsequently detained for several hours.

Scoan was contacted by the BBC regarding the allegations during their investigation. It disregarded their statements, but refuted previous allegations made against TB Joshua.

“Accusing Prophet TB Joshua without evidence is a recurring event… The claims made were never proven,” it stated.

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According to the BBC, four British citizens have come forward, stating that they reported the abuse to the UK authorities after managing to escape from the church. According to reports, no additional measures were pursued.

Anneka expresses her belief that there are still many individuals who have not yet come forward as victims.

Furthermore, a British man and his wife shared their harrowing experience through email, providing eyewitness accounts and video evidence. The recordings captured the terrifying moments when they were held at gunpoint by individuals claiming to be police officers and members of Scoan. They courageously sent this information to the British High Commission in Nigeria in March 2010, after managing to escape from the church. In his email, the man shared the distressing news that his wife had been subjected to multiple instances of sexual assault and rape by Joshua. He alerted the commission to the presence of other British nationals who remained in the compound, enduring acts of violence.

Additionally, he mentions that no steps were taken.

The UK Foreign Office did not provide a response to these claims, but emphasised to the BBC that it treats all reports of crime against British nationals abroad, including sexual assault and violence, with utmost seriousness.

Scoan is still thriving today, led by Joshua’s widow, Evelyn. In July 2023, she organised a tour of Spain.

Anneka, who departed Derby in the UK to join Scoan at the age of 17, shared with the BBC her belief that numerous individuals who have yet to come forward are also victims. She is eager for additional measures to be taken in order to expose Joshua’s actions.

“The Synagogue Church of All Nations should undergo a comprehensive investigation to understand how this individual was able to operate in such a manner for an extended period,” she expressed her concern.

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