Kayode Fasua, in this report, reviews the various acts of generosity ascribed to Nigerian-born televangelist and founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, Prophet T.B Joshua, who turned 56 last Wednesday
Like rivulets trickling down the cottage rack, a stream of heads was bound to converge on Wednesday, June 12 on the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) headquarters, located in Ikotun-Egbe, Lagos. The motley crowd, assuredly, is largely to be composed by peasants, the physically challenged, widows, and several others, who are in want. They will gather to felicitate with the founder of the SCOAN, Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua, to mark his 56th year birthday. Assuredly, the visitors will all smile home.
A human deluge is anticipated this time round, as Joshua’s birthday coincides with Democracy Day-a day recently declared as public holiday by the federal government, in remembrance of the annulment of 1993 presidential election won by the late Chief M.K.O Abiola.
Joshua, whose genre of Christian evangelism is stupefying in its streak of stunning miraculous deeds, is arguably Nigeria’s most travelled preacher, as, according to inside sources, he had visited no fewer than 60 countries across the world.
But beyond evangelism, fresh revelations have also shown that the cleric has an irrepressible obsession for charity works, as he commits a huge chunk of the church’s resources to catering to the need of the less-privileged, both in Nigeria and outside the country.
Going through the latest publication of “The Emmanuel TV team”, a charity emblem of SCOAN’s television station, the man of God, as Joshua is fondly called, may have spent a conservative N2.1 billion on charity efforts, in the last four years.
In SCOAN’s latest publication entitled, ‘Reaching out to a troubled world’, the bearded prophet, who hails from the little community of Arigidi in Akoko North-East Local Government area of Ondo State, had on the surface, spent a total NI.I billion on donations to the tribe of the enfeebled and the poor across the world, apparently between 2014 and 2018.
But according to Mr. Ifeanyi Ugochukwu, an adherent of the SCOAN, “that amount would have doubled in view of the fact that, if The Emmanuel TV team is travelling to any part of the world to help those in need, it is the church that pays for all expenses, covering flight tickets, vehicle renting, hotel accommodation, feeding, and others.”
Ugochukwu added that in most cases, T.B Joshua himself leads his humanitarian team to, sometimes, very remote parts of the world, without recourse to the inevitable challenges that a new-comer is bound to face.
For instance, in 2014, Joshua was in Colombia where he donated US$100,000 (about N35 million) in support of those who were widowed, orphaned or wounded in the service of the country.
Musing on how imperiled this country was, at the time of Joshua’s visit, the publication states, “After his crusade, T.B Joshua and the Emmanuel TV Team visited a less-privileged area in downtown Camil, to meet hundreds of single parents and their children.
“Many of them (Colombian peasants) succumbed to social and economic pressures, entering a life of drugs and prostitution and were in dire need of assistance.”
Around the same period too, The Emmanuel Team was in Mexico and later, Pakistan, bringing relief to those widely famed as the wretched of the earth. According to the publication, “The Emmanuel TV Team was in Chiapas, Mexico, to share the love of Jesus Christ with the indigenous and isolated tribes who live in the Lacandan jungle.
“They are largely gatherers and farmers, and the team purchased items ranging from foodstuff to essential utensils and tools for life in the jungle, to take care of the Naha community and improve their quality of life.”
In Indonesia, T.B Joshua also brought smiles to the faces of those in the rehab of the homeless, with some mouth-watering contributions. “Following his crusade in Indonesia, T.B Joshua visited the House of Love, a charity home established to take care of the homeless and rejected people, in Surabaya. Overcome by emotion, Mrs. Hana Ananda, the charity home’s founder, tearfully prayed as T.B Joshua and his team presented a sum of US$10,000 (about N3.5 million) in support of the charity work,” the publication recounts.
The Emmanuel Team, within the four-year duration of 2014 to 2018, also visited the Haborovski region of far eastern Russia, to visit The Open Heart Homeless Project’s location, where more than 150 men and women were fed and housed every day. In that region, frostbite often claims the limbs of many, owing to extremely low temperature. There, the team provided hundreds of pairs of winter gear, essential foodstuffs and firewood to help protect the homeless from harsh winter conditions.
In nearby Ghana, T.B Joshua is also reputed to be a household name, going by his various contributions to elevate the standard of the less-privileged in the country. For instance, the man of God donated hundreds of bags of rice to support the Ghana Prisons Service in feeding inmates. He also recently gave various gift items to Krachi West District Hospital in that country. Meanwhile, way back in June 2015, during a devastating flooding in Accra, the Ghanaian capital, the cleric’s humanitarian team had promptly responded with relief items comprising 1,000 bags of rice, cooking oil, soap, mattresses, pillows and other relief items worth over US$40,000 (about N14 million).
However, Joshua’s contribution to the Ghanaian humanitarian needs reached a crescendo when he donated operational vehicles worth $US140,000 (about N49 million) to the Ghana Police Service.
Joshua’s team was also recently at the Mountain Ministries Ranch in Washington, USA, being a facility set up to rehabilitate those recovering from drug and alcoholic addictions. There, he donated sums in thousands of dollars to the inmates. Gary Miller, founder of the ranch, who got a cash gift of $2,000 (about N700,000), simply leapt for joy, the publication recalls.
In the inglorious era of Ebola disease scourge in Sierra Leone too, Joshua’s Emmanuel TV Team was on hand. Then, T.B Joshua reportedly chartered a plane, loaded it with anointing water (for spiritual healing) and sent the sachets with a cash donation of $US50,000 (about N17.5 million) to bring succour to the Ebola victims.
This is besides the fact that the cleric has permanently instituted a culture of restoring victims of human trafficking, especially as it pertains to Nigeria, his home country. The man of God, the publication adds, has always been there for Nigerians trapped in the Libyan serfdom, who yearn to return home and live a free life. In the last three years, his SCOAN has been home to many Libyan returnees who keep testifying to how Joshua brought them back to Nigeria and not only gave them financial and material supports, but also ensured that they were resettled to live a normal life. An insider in the SCOAN, who would want his name under wraps, told THISDAY that this singular effort had gulped as much as N300 million.
As for the virulent Boko Haram insurgency that had claimed many lives, especially in the Northeastern part of the country where hundreds of thousands were displaced, the Joshua team had reportedly spent several millions of naira to fend for the victims. Of note, as recalled in the SCOAN publication, was the cleric’s recent N10 million donation to support inmates of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in New Kuchingoro, Abuja. His humanitarian efforts, it was also learnt, were carried to the heartlands of crisis-prone areas in Borno, Jos in Plateau, Adamawa, Yobe, and Kaduna.
Indeed, his Ikotun-Egbe community which is his host in Lagos, has reportedly been having chummy moments courtesy of the cleric’s rare act of generosity. “When our electricity transformer got burnt recently, we simply smiled, knowing T.B Joshua would rise up to the occasion, and he did not let us down”, said Mr. Adeyinka Yinusa, a resident of Bolorunpelu settlement in the Ikotun-Egbe area.
Meanwhile, T.B Joshua’s Arigidi hometown is particularly enlivened by his display of the prosaic aphorism that “charity begins at home”. The community, it was gathered, had been in darkness for close to four years as a result of vandalism brought to its electric cables and transformer. When told of the cost implication by his community leaders, T.B Joshua reportedly sent N20 million across. Today, Arigidi is enjoying electricity supply.
Commenting on the gesture, the Special Adviser to the Ondo State Governor on Public Utilities, Mr. Tunji Ariyomo, said, “What T.B Joshua did is commendable and worthy of emulation by other well-to-do indigenes of Ondo State, as by his act, he has complemented government’s efforts in ensuring that electricity supply is brought to all rural communities in the state.”
Meanwhile, an inside source in the SCOAN has explained that Joshua’s source of income in giving back to the society “is a simple arithmetic, born out of God-given heart of generosity.”
“The man of God does not collect money from anyone to obtain prayer or miracle; but once God meets you at the point of your need, and you come with money to show appreciation, he would immediately set aside a reasonable percentage to charity works, to meet the needs of the less-privileged members of the society,” the source enthused.