A three-part investigative documentary done by the BBC has revealed how the late Nigerian Pastor, Temitope Balogun Joshua, better known as TB Joshua constantly abused and tortured his daughter, Ajoke.
In the documentary, TB Joshua’s disciples claimed that Ajoke was gotten outside lawful marriage and was subjected to a series of torture and humiliation by the late cleric who viewed her existence as a big threat to his reputation as a man of God.
Ajoke claimed that he never felt fatherly affection from the late pastor and that her father compelled her to be a disciple to ruin her life.
She said, “It was very difficult to watch this man preach every Sunday. Topics about love and about mercy. They feel very strange coming from his lips. I stared myself in the mirror lots of times, so maybe I didn’t look like him. Maybe. For as long as I can remember, I had been raised as TB Joshua’s daughter.”
“That kind of pain cannot be put into words. I feel like, you know, maybe I really don’t deserve to be alive. We are talking about years and years of abuse, consistent abuse, abuse that wasn’t ending,” she said.
She added that other disciples also joined her father to compound the humiliation.
She said, “The disciples were both brainwashed and enablers. Everybody was just acting based on commands like zombies. Nobody was questioning beyond fanatics. Where does your conscience come? How far can your conscience go without some form of accountability?”
“I knew the child, Ajoke, right from birth. She’s his actual daughter. His biological daughter from another woman outside of wedlock,” one of the disciples also gave his remark on Ajoke’s relationship with TB Joshua.
“Ajoke grew inside the Synagogue like an outcast. I think he wanted to keep her secret. I don’t think he wanted anyone to know who she was. The message about Ajoke was that she had terrible evil spirits that needed to be driven out,” another female disciple revealed.
“He hated her, and he punished her for being born. Her existence was probably the biggest threat to his reputation. What’s her fault? What has that girl done? It pains me she was still very young that time. Can you imagine how heartless we were?” the disciple added.
The allegations of abuse in a secretive Nigerian compound span almost 30 years. More than 25 former members spoke to the BBC – from the UK, Nigeria, US, South Africa, Ghana, Namibia and Germany – giving powerful corroborating testimony about their experiences within the church, spanning three decades up to 2019. The British victims were all between 15 and 21 years old when they joined the church. Multiple BBC interviewees compared their experiences to like being in a cult.
Upon his death in June 2021, TB Joshua was hailed as one of the most influential pastors in African history. Rising from poverty in Nigeria in the 1990s, he built an evangelical empire stretching across the globe, and counted among his associates dozens of political leaders, celebrities and international footballers.
The BBC said it contacted the current leadership of the Synagogue Church of All Nations with the allegations in this film. They replied: “Making unfounded allegations against Prophet TB Joshua is not a new occurrence.”
“None of the allegations was ever substantiated,” the leadership was quoted as saying.
They did not respond to the details of the allegations, the BBC said.