The death of renowned televangelist and founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, Prophet Temitope Joshua, came as a rude shock to Nigerians and many other people around the world.
The cleric synonymous with miracles died at the age of 57 after a ministration on Saturday, according to a statement on Sunday by his church.
“God has taken His servant Prophet TB Joshua home – as it should be by divine will. His last moments on earth were spent in the service of God. This is what he was born for, lived for and died for,” the statement partly read.
Joshua, who was born on June 12, 1963, had planned to celebrate his 58th birthday on June 12, 2021 with fasting and prayer.
In a message posted on his Facebook page on Friday, he had said, “Viewers all over the world, June 12th is around the corner. As you know, I am a man of the people. So, the wound of one is the wound of all.
“As things stand, you may have realised it will not be easy for me to celebrate my birthday under the present circumstances. Some of the people who want to come are troubled by the situation all over the world. We see their fear and their worry. I feel their pain; I feel their worry.
“Therefore, let us dedicate this day to prayer and fasting. Don’t forget the needy. By the grace of God, more birthdays are ahead. God bless you! Emmanuel. Jesus is Lord! Happy Birthday!”
However, the Ikotun area where the church headquarters is located in Lagos State was a mourning field on Sunday as inconsolable worshippers paid tribute to the departed cleric.
Joshua, who is survived by children and a wife, hailed from Arigidi Akoko, in Ondo State.
He founded the Synagogue Church in 1987. The church which has its headquarters in Lagos State accommodates over 15,000 worshippers per gathering. The church currently has branches in Ghana, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Greece.
Joshua is one of the richest and philanthropic pastors in Nigeria. He was estimated to worth over $15m in 2011, by Forbes.
The cleric remained controversial for several years for his inexplicable powers to heal all sorts of incurable diseases, including HIV/AIDS and cancer.
Joshua’s healing powers had attracted thousands of people from all over the world to Nigeria.
In September 2014, a guest house in Joshua’s church in the Ikotun area of Lagos collapsed killing over 100 persons including scores of expatriates and religious tourists.
However, Joshua cannot be said to be in the good books of some top Nigerian Pastors. The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria had warned its members to distance themselves from him.
Joshua owned Emmanuel TV, a Christian television network, and is close friends with some world leaders including former Ghanaian President Atta Mills.
YouTube had recently suspended Joshua over allegations of hate speech and for conducting prayers to “cure” gay people.