Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka has urged Nigerians to leave the BBC alone following its damning report about the late Pastor Temitope Balogun Joshua, famously known as TB Joshua.

Joshua, who founded the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), died on June 5, 2021. 

The BBC in January 2024 published a 3-part investigative documentary detailing the atrocities and sexual crimes committed by the cleric.

As part of the investigation, the BBC interviewed at least 30 former members and workers of SCOAN. 

The first installment of the documentary was released on January 8.

The 3-part documentary revealed the clandestine lifestyle of the now-deceased founder of SCOAN. It detailed stories of abuse, harassment, rape, manipulation, and staged miracles. Sources told the BBC that the church knew about all the allegations but never investigated them. They alleged the sexual crime spanned over two decades.

A part of the documentary revealed how SCOAN shielded its congregation from the truth about the collapse of one of the church’s guesthouses in 2014. A video that was shown multiple times to members on Emmanuel TV showed a short clip of the structure with something that seemed like an aircraft flying over it.

“On television, they were showing us the building had been bombed,” one of the sources who lost her daughter in the collapsed building told the BBC.”

SCOAN is located at Ikotun-Egbe area of Lagos State. The church grew from a local evangelical into a multimillion-dollar church with worshipers from all around the world.

The aircraft story fed to the members was all a lie, Emmanuel, one of the young men who served TB Joshua told the BBC. Emmanuel claimed the church had a structural defect.

The foundation of the building was inadequate for the floors built on it, Rae, a Brit who attended the church and was a disciple, corroborated. She added that Joshua insisted that the building be raised despite professional opinions.

“They told us don’t tell what you know,” Emmanuel, another worker at SCOAN said in the film. “They knew something was wrong with the building but they were managing it.”

Soyinka who was the Guest Speaker, at the PUNCH 50th Anniversary Public Lecture on Recovering The Narrative, said he discussed TB Joshua with the then-Governor of Lagos, who had plans to put the cleric on trial.

He said, “Considering religion-saturated environment here, perhaps the nearest expression for description is that creativity is akin to the phenomenon of spiritual possession. Oh! That brings me to the recent hullabaloo occasioned by a BBC documentary on the religious enterprise rampaging across our dear nation.”

“I took some time to study that man, TB Joshua while he was still alive. 

“I discussed him with the then-Governor of Lagos, who had plans to tell them to put him on trial. But then he took off and I think he ended up in Latin America, which is beginning to rival Nigeria for miracles and wonders, and packed theatre on stage, on television for people in possession and being cursed, and vomiting snakes and…all other kinds of illicit aspects of Nigerian spirituality. Leave BBC alone,” he said.