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T. B. Joshua

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T. B. Joshua
تى بى جوشوا.jpg
Born Temitope Balogun Joshua
(1963-06-12) June 12, 1963 (age 54)
Arigidi, Nigeria
Residence Ikotun-Egbe, Lagos, Lagos State, Nigeria
Nationality Nigerian
Occupation Minister, Televangelist, Philanthropist
Net worth US$10-15 million (Forbes, 2011)[1]
Spouse(s) Evelyn Joshua
Website The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations, Emmanuel TV, YouTube Channel

Temitope Balogun Joshua (born June 12, 1963), commonly referred to as T. B. Joshua, is a Nigerian Pastor, televangelist and philanthropist. He is the leader and founder of The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN),[2] a Christian organisation that runs the Emmanuel TV television station from Lagos.

Joshua is known for his popularity across Africa and his online presence with 3,000,000 fans on Facebook[3][4] and over 600,000 YouTube subscribers.[5] Described as the "Oprah of evangelism"[6] and "YouTube's most popular Pastor",[7] Emmanuel TV is Africa's largest Christian television network[8] and the most subscribed Christian ministry channel on YouTube with videos amassing more than 240 million views.[9][10]

He has been awarded various accolades, notably receiving the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) by the Nigerian government in 2008[11] and being voted the Yoruba man of the decade by Pan-Yoruba media outlet Irohin-Odua.[12] He has been called one of Africa's 50 most influential people by Pan-African magazines The Africa Report and New African Magazine[13][14]

As of 2011, according to Forbes, Joshua was Nigeria’s third-richest pastor,[15] although the claim was immediately denied in a statement by the church.[16]


According to Joshua’s official biography, unusual circumstances surrounded his birth. He says that he spent 15 months in his mother’s womb[17] and narrowly avoided death after a quarry explosion near his house sent rocks through its roof just seven days after his birth.[18] It is also alleged that Joshua's birth was 'prophesied' 100 years prior.[19]

Joshua, then known as Balogun Francis,[20] attended St. Stephen's Anglican Primary School in Arigidi-Akoko, Nigeria between 1971 and 1977,[21] but failed to complete one year of secondary school education.[21] In school, he was known as "small pastor" because of his love for the Bible. He worked in various casual jobs after his schooling had ended, including carrying chicken waste at a poultry farm.[22] He organised Bible studies for local children and attended evening school during this period.[17] Joshua attempted to join the Nigerian military but was thwarted due to a train breakdown that left him stranded en route to the military academy.

The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN)

Joshua wrote that in a heavenly vision he had received divine anointing and a covenant from God to start his ministry.[23] Following this, Joshua founded the ministry organisation The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN) with only a handful of members.[24][self-published source] According to the organisation, more than 15,000 members[25] attend its weekly Sunday service; visitors from outside Nigeria are accommodated in the accommodation blocks constructed at the church.[26][27][28]

The Guardian reported that The SCOAN attracts more weekly attendees than the combined number of visitors to Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London.[29] The SCOAN's popular services have also resulted in an enormous boost for local businesses and hoteliers.[30]

Despite Joshua's popularity, the church only has a branch in Ghana,[31] Joshua stating that "it is not yet time" for him to have branches worldwide as "it will be too much for my character".[32]

Religious tourism

The SCOAN has been described as “Nigeria’s biggest tourist attraction”[33] and “the most visited destination by religious tourists in West Africa,”[34] with thousands of foreigners flocking to attend the church’s weekly services.[35] Figures released by the Nigerian Immigration Service indicated that six out of every ten foreign travellers coming into Nigeria are bound for The SCOAN,[36] a fact discussed in Zimbabwean parliament when addressing the economic potentials of religious tourism.[37]

This Day newspapers reported that “about two million local and inbound tourists” visit The SCOAN annually.[38] The church’s popularity has led to an increase in flight routes to Lagos from several African countries in 2013.[39]

Purported relocation to Israel

Joshua's contribution to Nigeria's religious tourism was highlighted[40] when the cleric hinted at the possibility of relocating his ministry to Israel during a Sunday service.[41] The announcement proved controversial with several prominent Nigerians[42] urging him to remain in the country, citing the economic setbacks[43] Nigeria would likely experience through his potential relocation.

Healings and miracles

SCOAN claims regular occurrences of divine miracles.[44] Several hundred Nigerians and international visitors come to the SCOAN each week to register for the prayer lines where the visitors are prayed over by Joshua. SCOAN has published numerous videos claiming to document the healing of incurable disabilities and illnesses such as HIV/AIDS.[45][46][47]

Spiritual healing at The SCOAN has been the subject of several media reports, including a mention in Time Magazine,[48] an Associated Press interview[49] and an article by Foreign Policy detailing the proficiency of Nigerians to seek 'spiritual' help due to insufficient medical facilities.[50]

A huge debate was stirred within Nigeria when the father of abducted school girl Ese Oruru stated his intention to take her daughter to T.B. Joshua for 'prayers' following her release.[51] Similarly, a leaked report stating the intention of Nigeria's embattled former petroleum minister Diezani Alison-Madueke to visit Joshua for 'spiritual support' in her battle against breast cancer elicited controversy.[52]

Anointing Water

Many have also claimed to be healed through 'Anointing Water' that has been prayed over by Joshua and given to those who are unable to physically attend his church in Lagos.[53][54] Others claim they were protected from deadly incidents because they had the water with them.[55][56]

In 2013, four people died in a stampede in Joshua's Ghanaian branch when an unadvertised service where it was being distributed drew huge crowds far beyond the churches capacity, bringing Ghana's capital city Accra almost to a standstill.[57]

Joshua also made headlines when he claimed his Anointing Water could cure the deadly disease Ebola. He subsequently sent 4,000 bottles of the water alongside a cash gift of $50,000 to the Ebola-stricken nation of Sierra Leone.[58][59] This came after Lagos State Health officials visited Joshua, requesting him to publicly discourage Ebola victims from visiting his church for prayers.[60] A Sierra Leonean politician later claimed the water helped stop the spread of the disease and cured several Ebola victims.[61]

Deliverances of demon-possessed

SCOAN is also known for the deliverance of those allegedly possessed by evil spirits during its services.[62][63] The wife of Ghanaian goal keeper Richard Kingson was delivered of an evil spirit which was supposedly behind her husband's inability to procure a contract with a team since 2011.[64]

Notable Ghanaian human rights lawyer Kwabla Senanu testified at The SCOAN that he was delivered from a spiritual problem that had caused him embarrassing bouts of sleep in the courtroom.[65] Similarly, Ghanaian musician Denise Williams said she was delivered from a demon that had pushed her to become a drug addict and suicidal.[66]

Veteran Nigerian Nollywood Actress Camilla Mberekpe was also said to be delivered at The SCOAN.[67]

Popular Nollywood actor Jim Iyke also said he received deliverance at The SCOAN,[68] the video of the event subsequently going viral.[69]

A young man allegedly delivered from a 'homosexual demon' at The SCOAN also attracted widespread media attention.[70][71][72]

Strange occurrences have been reported during these deliverance prayers, including the case of a South African girl who 'cried blood'[73] and a Liberian man who began behaving 'like a dog'. [74]

Foreign visits

Although Joshua rarely goes abroad, he has travelled to Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. His 'Miracle Crusade' in Cali, Colombia in July 2014 was allegedly attended by 100,000 people and held in the Estadio Olímpico Pascual Guerrero.[75]

He travelled to the Estadio Azteca in Mexico which was allegedly attended by 200,000 people over two days in May 2015.[76]

Continuing his travels across Latin America, Joshua's two-day visit to Estadio Monumental "U" in Lima, Peru, attracted nearly 100,000 in September 2016, making headlines in local Peruvian media.[77][78][79]

Joshua also visited Israel to receive a humanitarian award from ZAKA and visit Biblical sites.[80]

Humanitarian work

The SCOAN is involved in extensive humanitarian projects worldwide, a Forbes blogger estimating that Joshua has spent $20 million on charitable activities.[81] Several media reports show the church has donated large amounts of money in order to help orphans, widows, elderly, physically challenged and destitute[82][83] There is also a rehabilitation programme for militants from Nigeria’s volatile Niger Delta region, repentant armed robbers[84] and sex workers who came to the church for 'deliverance'.[85][86] Joshua allegedly joins his team in several of the humanitarian journeys they undertake to less-privileged communities [87]

Joshua's followers celebrate his birthday on June 12th by assisting less-privileged individuals in their societies.[88] [89]

Community support

Joshua has come to the aid of several communities in distress, notably providing two transformers to a local community after theirs was burned beyond repair.[90] The cleric has additionally made several large donations to the police force in Nigeria,[91] Ghana[92] and Colombia.


The SCOAN has a 'scholarship program' which caters for the academic needs of students in their thousands, ranging from primary to tertiary education.[93] In 2012, Joshua sponsored a Nigerian student doing a PhD in Oxford University, with Nigerian media reporting she received £100,000 from the church.[94] He also gave a scholarship to a young Motswana to study at Harvard Law School in America.[95]

Disaster relief

After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Joshua sent a team of medical personnel and humanitarian workers to the affected area, establishing a field hospital called 'Clinique Emmanuel'.[96]

He additionally sent support to nations such as Philippines, India and Ghana in the wake of varying natural disasters. The 'Emmanuel TV Team' also assisted victims of the earthquake that struck the nation of Ecuador in April 2016, providing over $500,000 worth of humanitarian aid.[97]

Support for migrants and deportees

Several groups of Nigerians attempting illegal travel to Europe through Libya have been supported at The SCOAN following their deportation from the North African nation with only the clothes on their backs.[98] Stories of the harsh conditions they encountered and Joshua's subsequent assistance made headlines in several local newspapers.[99]


In 2009, Joshua started a football club, My People FC, as part of efforts to help the youth. Two members of the team played for Nigeria's Golden Eaglets in the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Sani Emmanuel, who apparently lived in The SCOAN for several years,[100] was Nigeria's top-scorer and the tournament's MVP. Emmanuel and his colleague Ogenyi Onazi signed professional contracts with SS Lazio, Onazi a key player for the Nigerian Senior Team, the Super Eagles.[101]

WBO International Light Middleweight boxing champion King Davidson Emenogu said that Joshua has financially supported him throughout his career and purportedly prophesied that he would be a world boxing champion.[102]

Reconciliation efforts

Joshua was involved in the meeting of the family of the late president of Liberia, Samuel Doe, with the former warlord Prince Yormie Johnson who was responsible for Doe's death. During this meeting the family publicly forgave Johnson[103] who said it was through Joshua's prayers that he stopped drinking alcohol and turned to Christianity.[104]

The cleric has also plays a prominent role in reconciling broken homes and restoring families torn apart by false accusations.[105]

Humanitarian awards

In recognition of his humanitarian activities, he was awarded a National Honour by the Nigerian government in 2008 [11] as well as receiving a letter of appreciation from the United Nations.[106] He was further honoured as an Ambassador of Peace by the Arewa Youth Forum, a predominantly Muslim organisation,[107] as well as being recognised with an 'award of excellence' by ZAKA, Israel's primary rescue and recovery voluntary service.[108]


SCOAN claims that Joshua has successfully predicted events in the lives of individuals who attend his church services[109] as well as worldwide events, including a prophecy of Michael Jackson's death,[110] the Boston bombing attacks in America [111] and the outcome of two African Cup of Nations (AFCON) final matches, which were won by Zambia [112] and Nigeria[113] respectively.

His prophecy about the impending death of an African president was widely reported in African press.[114] Joshua's followers believe the prophecy concerned the former president of Malawi Bingu wa Mutharika who died in 2012.

False rumors spread using Joshua's name are known to have caused widespread panic in communities,[115][116] affected sporting events,[117] music concerts[118] and led people to stop using social networks.[119]

Although critics argue that Joshua's predictions are too vague,[120] he was ranked among the "most famous prophets in history" by an American ranking website.[121]

Alleged MH370 prophecy

SCOAN released a video claiming that TB Joshua predicted the Malaysian Airlines MH370 event,[122] The prophecy received a lot of attention on social media and its accompanying YouTube video amassed over 1 million views.[123]

Terrorist attacks

Several terrorist attacks perpetrated by ISIS, Al-Qaeda affiliates and Al-Shabaab militants have allegedly been predicted by Joshua, including the November 2015 Paris attacks,[124] the Garissa University College attack in Kenya,[125] the Ouagadougou hotel siege in Burkina Faso[126] and the 2016 Brussels Bombings.[127]

Ghana terror attack

Joshua's prophecy in April 2016 that an impending terror attack would befall Ghana made national headlines in the West African nation and led the national police to issue a statement calling for the general public to be calm and vigilant.[128] 600 foreigners reportedly cancelled their visits to Ghana in the wake of the prophecy.[129] Days later, a captured Malian terrorist confessed that his group had planned to target Ghana.[130]

US election prophecy

Joshua predicted that Hillary Clinton would win the 2016 US election. After this prophecy failed to materialise, with Donald Trump winning the election, Joshua stated that he was referring to Clinton´s win in the popular vote and any misinterpretation was due to a lack of "spiritual understanding".[131]

Notable visitors

Notable visitors to SCOAN have included late Ghanaian President John Evans Atta Mills [132] South Africa’s Winnie Mandela,[133] EFF leader Julius Malema,[134] the Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu,[135] former Malawian President Joyce Banda,[136] Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangarai[137] and the late Zambian President Frederick Chiluba who once stated that he watched 'Emmanuel TV' daily.[138]

Tanzanian President John Magufuli visited The SCOAN in 2011. Days to his inauguration in November 2015, Joshua visited Tanzania where he met Magufuli (who received him at the airport),[139] the outgoing President Jakaya Kikwete and opposition leader Edward Lowassa. His visit caused a media storm in Tanzania,[140] even though he did not publicly appear at the inauguration.[141]

Nigeria's former President Goodluck Jonathan visited The SCOAN in September 2014 following the tragic building collapse of a guesthouse within the church premises.[142] After Jonathan conceded defeat to Muhammadu Buhari in Nigeria's historic 2015 elections, Joshua controversially claimed he had warned him of his impending electoral defeat,[143] an assertion later corroborated by one of Jonathan's aides.[144]

Emmanuel TV

Emmanuel TV, the SCOAN television station, broadcasts 24/7. Its Sunday services are broadcast live. Joshua's programmes also air weekly on a number of local television stations across Africa. It debuted on DStv and GOtv in November 2015,[145] as well as Startimes in February 2016.[146] In its profile on Joshua, the BBC described him as "Nigeria's best known televangelist".[147]

A Ghanaian psychiatrist in UK was controversially sacked from the NHS after recommending Emmanuel TV to a patient with a history of 'satanic abuse', although later cleared of any wrongdoing by a tribunal.[148]

Emmanuel TV's motto is 'Changing lives, changing nations, changing the world.' The station is also known for its catch-phrase, ‘Distance Is Not A Barrier’,[149] encouraging viewers to ‘pray along’ with T.B. Joshua by ‘touching the screen’. There are several claims of people receiving miraculous 'healing' through these prayers,[150][151] including popular Nollywood actress Tonto Dikeh who said Joshua's prayers ended her 14-year smoking addiction.[152]

YouTube channel

Emmanuel TV's YouTube Channel is one of the most subscribed Christian YouTube channels worldwide[153] and the most subscribed in Nigeria, having amassed 580,000 subscribers and over 240 million views since its inception.[154] Google ranked one of Emmanuel TV's YouTube videos as the fourth most viewed clip ever within Nigeria.[155]

Criticism and controversy

Joshua has many critics and is known to be controversial.[156]

Relationship with other pastors

Joshua has been publicly condemned by several prominent pastors within Nigeria, his most vocal critic being Pastor Kris Okotie who described him as a 'son of the devil'.[157] The Christian Association of Nigeria and Pentecostal Fellowship Of Nigeria have both acknowledged Joshua is not a member of either organisation and denounced him as an 'impostor'.[158]Enoch Adeboye, David Oyedepo, Ayo Oritsejafor, Paul Adefarasin and Matthew Ashimolowo are among the pastors who publicly denounced Joshua, as did disgraced American megachurch leader Ted Haggard.[159][160]

Blacklisted in Cameroon

He was 'blacklisted' by the government of Cameroon in 2010 and termed a 'son of the devil'.[161] Rumours of a visit by Joshua to Zimbabwe in 2012 led to an intense national debate, culminating with pastors and politicians strongly objecting.[162]

Spat with 'witch-doctor'

A popular Ghanaian 'witch-doctor' said he went to the Vatican City to 'report' Joshua to Pope Francis for his 'false' prophecies.[163]

HIV deaths In London

In 2011, several media houses in UK reported at least three people in London with HIV died after they stopped taking life saving drugs on the advice of their pastors. The HIV prevention charity African Health Policy Network (AHPN) believed that The SCOAN "may" be one of those involved in such practices although the three in question have no demonstrable link to the SCOAN. The BBC quoted The SCOAN as saying "No, we do not ask people to stop taking their medication".[164]

Private jet

On 14 September 2015 it was reported that Joshua "secretly purchased a $60 Million Gulfstream G550 Private Jet".[165] These rumors were dismissed as false by a media aide of Joshua.[166]

Boko Haram confession

A self-confessed member of the dreaded Islamic sect Boko Haram came to The SCOAN in March 2014, allegedly with plans to 'bomb' the church. According to him, it was Joshua's prayers that thwarted the group's deadly intentions and later compelled him to confess.[167] The subsequent clip of the confession went viral on YouTube[168] and proved very controversial. A group known as the "Movement for Accountability and Good Governance", has called for the investigation of the incident based on the claims that were made.[169]

Collapse of guesthouse

On 12 September 2014, a guesthouse collapsed in the SCOAN's premises in Lagos killing at least 115 people, 84 of them South Africans.[170]

Malawi president replies 'death' prophecy

In March 2016, the President of Malawi, Peter Mutharika, attacked Joshua as a 'false prophet' for allegedly predicting his impending death.[171] His comments were condemned by the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM), especially as there was no record of the purported prediction.[172]

Personal life

Joshua is married to Evelyn Joshua. They have three children.[173] His eldest daughter Serah Joshua is a graduate from the London School of Economics, Department of Law.[174] and was 'called to the bar' in Nigeria in December 2015.[175] His second daughter, Promise Joshua, is studying Politics and International Relations at the London School of Economics.[176]



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External links