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Synagogue Church of all Nations

SCOAN Leader Accused of Construction Tragedy, Bribery
Some members of the Synagogue Church of all Nations (SCOAN) have cautioned the public against taunting their spiritual leader, Prophet TB [Temitope Balogun] Joshua, over the September 2014 collapse of a church guesthouse under construction at the Lagos headquarters of the SCOAN. Conflicting reports range from 67 to 80 South Africans having died in the tragedy. Joshua has become the focus for someone to be held responsible for the deaths, but he insists the collapse was the result of a planned attack on him.

SCOAN members worldwide have condemned the alleged celebration of the calamity on blogs and other social-media platforms, and in debates about whether Joshua was a fake prophet since he didn’t prophesy the disaster. One man insisted that the clergyman was not God but just “an ordinary human being” like his critics, and that Nigerians instead should ask God why the tragedy befell his church.

In the midst of this recent publicity, investigative journalist Jacques Pauw also accused Joshua of bribery. Pauw, author of Profit of Doom, an expose on Joshua’s church, says Joshua once tried to bribe Pauw’s entire television crew when he accompanied the late Blue Bulls rugby team lock Wium Basson to Lagos for healing and also conducted an interview with the preacher. “Basson was dying of liver cancer and … the prophet refused to pray for him. … and then he handed an envelope full of $100 notes to me and the sound person. We told him we couldn’t accept it and he said it was a gift from God,” said Pauw, who described Joshua as a “soft spoken and very charismatic person,” and one of Africa’s most influential men.

He simultaneously noted that “It was difficult to find out where he [Joshua] comes from, how much money he has and how much power he wields. …after we broadcast the documentary, there was a campaign against us in Nigeria. On their [the church’s] website, we were described as the disciples of the devil.” Pauw said that he and his crew were incarcerated in the church for almost three weeks after their arrival and were not allowed to leave the compound.

Joshua founded the church in the late 1980s with only eight members; currently from 15,000 to 20,000 people attend his Sunday sermons in Lagos, and there are branches in South Africa, Greece, Ghana, and the United Kingdom. Joshua also owns a TV network, Emmanuel TV, through which his Sunday sermons are broadcast live to millions of viewers around the world. Africa Report magazine recently named Joshua as one of the 50 most influential people in Africa, noting that “His net worth is estimated at around R170 million. The God business has been very good for him.” (Punch, 9/15/14; EWN, 9/18/14) [IT 6.1 2015]

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