It was a cascade of tears, whimpering sobs and free flow of emotions on Friday afternoon as the remains of renowned televangelist and founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua, were lowered six feet beneath the ground in the Ikotun area of Lagos State.
The 57-year-old was buried on the premises of his church in Lagos. He was buried in the presence of his widow, Evelyn; his children, family members and other loved ones.
Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu; Wife of the Ooni of Ife, Olori Naomi Adeyeye; and other guests were in attendance at the interment service.
Joshua was buried after a week-long funeral service which climaxed on Friday afternoon.
Joshua, who was born on June 12, 1963, had planned to celebrate his 58th birthday on June 12, 2021, before he died on June 5, 2021.
He hailed from Arigidi Akoko, in Ondo State, and founded the Synagogue Church in 1987. The church, which has its headquarters in Lagos, accommodates over 15,000 worshippers per gathering. The church currently has branches in Ghana, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Greece.
Joshua was one of the richest and philanthropic pastors in Nigeria; he was estimated to worth over $15m in 2011, according to Forbes.
The late cleric remained controversial for several years for his inexplicable powers to heal all sorts of incurable diseases, including HIV/AIDS and cancer. His healing powers attracted thousands of people – mostly expatriates – 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 who were conspicuously absent at his funeral. The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria had warned its members to distance themselves from him.
Before his death, Joshua owned Emmanuel TV, a Christian television network, and was a close friend of some world leaders including former Ghanaian President Atta Mills.
YouTube recently suspended Joshua over allegations of hate speech and for conducting prayers to “cure” gay people.
Upon his death, the church chose his widow, Evelyn, to take over from him.