The headquarters of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) located in the densely populated area of Ikotun in Lagos State was a mourning field yesterday as worshippers, sympathizers and residents thronged the church to mourn the demise of its founder, Prophet Temitope Babatunde Joshua (T.B.Joshua).
Joshua, who died on Saturday at the age of 57, exactly a week to his 58th birthday, was a popular but controversial tele-evangelist, preacher and philanthropist.
The church announced his death in a statement but did not disclosed the cause of death.
T.B Joshua was born in 1963 at Arigidi town of Ondo State.
In 1987, he founded SCOAN under the bridge that links Ejigbo and Egbe in Lagos State with just few members.
The church later grew to have large number of members within and outside Nigeria, Africa and Latin America. SCOAN plays host to dozens of international guests, and local celebrities, who visit the worship centre for prayers.
He later established the Emmanuel TV television station from Lagos which has wide viewership especially as it is on cable TV.
TB Joshua was a known philanthropist and noted for helping the needy and sponsoring persons.
A man of many clouts, Forbes in 2011 wrote that Joshua was the third-richest pastor in Nigeria with estimated net worth of between $10m and $15m. SCOAN, however, denied the claims.
A building on SCOAN’s premises collapsed in 2014, killing more than 100 people — most of whom were foreigners from South Africa.
All the flags in front of thehis church were yesterday lowered to mourn the cleric.
Buhari, Jonathan, Akeredolu, Obaseki, Zaki of Arigidi mourn
President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday condoled with the family and members of the SCOAN on the passing of their father and founder.
Buhari, in a statement by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, said the renowned televangelist would be missed by his followers all over the world not only for his spiritual contributions, but for touching many lives through philanthropic gestures.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan also expressed sadness over the death of Joshua, describing him as a devout man of God, who served God and humanity with relentless passion during his life.
Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, in a statement by his spokesman, Richard Olatunde, said the cleric was a blessing to humanity and a great ambassador of Ondo whose ministry was noted for charity.
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo expressed shock over the Joshua’s death, noting that he impacted the lives of millions of people across the world.
The traditional ruler of Arigidi, the hometown of the late Prophet, the Zaki of Arigidi, Oba Yisa Olanipukun said the people of Arigidi mourns a great son.
From Abiodun Alade, Abdullateef Aliyu & Christiana T. Alabi, Lagos; Muideen Olaniyi, Abuja & Bola Ojuola, Akure