Confusion mounts as TB Joshua’s absence reaches 3 months

“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace” 1 Cor 14:33a

TB Joshua

TB Joshua, the runaway prophet

TB Joshua has not appeared at SCOAN Lagos since the 3rd May and no explanation has been given by SCOAN. Sunday services are visibly depleted with no overflow congregation and little to no use of the balconies. Various news sources have reported the devastating effect his absence has had on the economy of the area around SCOAN HQ. Even pro-TB Joshua sources are showing signs of confusion. TB Joshua Fans UK and TB Joshua sponsored “reporters” Ihechukwu Njoku and Nosa Osazuwa have all published articles on the matter, acknowledging the drop in numbers but not showing any signs that they know the whereabouts of the runaway prophet.

Over a month ago we exclusively revealed that TB Joshua had not left Mexico after his crusade, remaining in Latin America to wait out the results of the court case, out of the reach of Nigerian authorities. Since then we’ve not seen any evidence that he’s returned, although we have not been able to confirm one way or another.

You could be forgiven for wondering why TB Joshua is still in hiding when it seems likely that he will only get a slap on the wrist and a $1250 fine. The problem he faces is that as an infallible man of God, the messiah of our time, Jesus of our generation and the one sent by God as a sign of his love for humankind, he can’t be seen to be making mistakes, let alone mistakes that led to the deaths of 116 people, accusations of criminal negligence and worldwide news coverage. That’s why SCOAN are so determined not to accept the coroners conclusion even if it does only come with a $1250 fine, paying that fine would be an admission of fault. That’s why SCOAN supporters are desperately grasping at straws trying to find alternative explanations for the building collapse to the litany of structural failings revealed in the coroner’s report. That’s why TB Joshua is unlikely to come out of hiding to face the music anytime soon. Messiah’s don’t make mistakes.

In the meantime, we’ve not heard anything credible or conclusive since the Mexico revelation, but various rumours abound. A keen viewer of Emmanuel TV noticed that some of his close confidants who were also missing since Mexico have recently returned to Lagos, does that mean he has too? Others have heard rumours that he is covertly setting up a new ministry and that SCOAN would be abandoned. Then there was the (slightly dubious) news article that claimed he was moving SCOAN HQ to Ondo in his home state, possibly leaving Lagos as a branch, or closing it altogether.

To TB Joshua’s disciples:

You have spent many of your best years sincerely believing that you were serving God under the mentor-ship of a great man of God, you have made uncountable sacrifices for the sake of this ministry. You have no doubt become so conditioned to the frequent lies, deception and misdirection employed by SCOAN that you hardly notice it. Hopefully this current haze of confusion about the future of SCOAN will awaken you to the fact that TB Joshua is not a pious man of God being persecuted, but a criminal escaping justice and refusing to take responsibility for his actions. There is no doubt about it, TB Joshua is going down. Whether he ends up being incarcerated remains to be seen, but his name is forever tarnished with the blood of 116 people who made huge sacrifices to visit him hoping for a miracle, but instead returned in coffins. The time to get out is now, SCOAN is crumbling, the longer you stay the more painful the exit will be. There are friends and family that long to see you, you will be welcomed with open arms. If money for air tickets is a problem, get in contact, there are people who can provide. If access to your passport is a problem, you only need to get to your nearest embassy for help.

Will SCOAN get away with a paltry $1250 fine?

A few eagle eyed journalists have spotted a subtle discrepancy between the recent announcement from Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and the recommendation of the coroner. The Coroner recommended that SCOAN and the contractor should be prosecuted for criminal negligence, the statement from the governor said that “the state government would prosecute the Synagogue Church of All Nations for neglecting to obtain building approval before commencing the building”. Journalist Nicholas Ibekwe (the same guy who exposed TB Joshua bribing journalists) explained what he expected this to mean:

Perhaps we’ll be seeing TB Joshua’s return from Mexico soon?

Must read: What the coroner really said about TB Joshua’s death trap building

The September 12th building collapse killed 116 people

The September 12th building collapse killed 116 people

Thanks to a well connected reader, we have managed to get our hands on the official Coroner’s report on the September 12th building collapse at SCOAN. It makes for interesting reading alongside SCOAN’s official statement. What we discover is that SCOAN’s statement is a mixture of lies padded out with a great deal of irrelevant but misleading information. The report is far more comprehensive and conclusive than SCOAN would like you to believe, it leaves the reader in no doubt that the building collapsed due to not one, but multiple structural deficiencies. We have numbered SCOAN’s statements below and respond to each in turn with information from the Coroner’s report. The full report with victim details redacted is embedded at the end of this post.

The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) rejects the verdict of the coroner on the grounds that it is unreasonable, one-sided and biased. The church maintains its stand that the incident was as a result of sabotage.

From the verdict given today, we would like the public to take note of the following:

1) There was no finding that the church engaged the services of unqualified or incompetent professionals for the construction of the building.

Misleading: While it is true that the coroner’s report did not directly accuse SCOAN of using unqualified or incompetent professionals, the report states that three separate government agencies found the structure to be inadequate in numerous ways (see response to statement #6 for more details), so you could deduce from this that the contractors were either unqualified, incompetent or criminal.

2) There was no finding that the church procured substandard materials for the construction of the building, as confirmed by officials of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) who gave evidence at the coroner and certified the materials used were all approved and of good quality.

Misleading: The report did not explicitly accuse the church of procuring substandard materials, but procuring good quality materials that are inadequate for the job is just as bad, for example reinforcing a column using 10 x Y20 bars instead of the required 12 x Y25 (see response to statement #6 for more details).

3) There was evidence that the church had started processing the relevant building approval before the incident, which had been approved and assessed for payment by the appropriate government bodies.

False: The report claims that SCOAN has only ever received approval for one building, the auditorium in 2004, and even that now has an additional 3 floors and an engine room without approval (Ref: Section 6.00). It seems unlikely that the church had started to process the building approval for the collapsed building before the incident, but even if it were true it would not exonerate them because they were already using the building without approval.

4) There was no finding that connected the incident with the lack of a building permit.

Misleading: This statement is ridiculous, how could the lack of a building permit directly cause a building to collapse? They know full well the relevance of the building permit.

5) There was no finding that church members prevented the statutory responders from carrying out their rescue duties.

Possibly true: During the rescue operation, National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) spokesman Ibrahim Farinloye told the press that “The church is not co-operating with emergency workers at all, for the first three days of the incident, the church people were very hostile and prevented rescue officials access to the site. It was after the visit of the (Lagos state) governor (Babatunde Fashola) when he threatened to close down the church that we were allowed to work. Perhaps if we had had early access to the place we would have been able to save more lives.” However, SCOAN strongly denied this, and it was not mentioned at all in the coroner’s report.

6) The church disagrees most vehemently with the finding that the incident was due to structural failure. The church considers it strange that the coroner did not refer in its verdict to the evidence of the COREN-registered structural engineer and contractor used by the church nor did it evaluate the conflicting evidence given by civil and structural engineers as to whether or not the incident was as a result of structural failure.

Misleading: Section 5.01 of the coroner’s report does contain a statement from Engr. Dr. Joseph I. Folayan, FNSE, FA Eng who was summoned to court at the request of SCOAN, it is not clear if this is the COREN-registered structural engineer their statement refers to, but it’s difficult to imagine any evidence having countered the substantial evidence pointing to structural failure as the cause of the collapse. For example, three independent agencies (the Nigeria Building And Road Research Instititute (NBBRI),  the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) and the Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG)) provided a litany of serious structural failings, for example:

  • Inadequate beams of 750mm by 225mm (should have been 900mm by 300mm)
  • Inadequately reinforced columns (should have been reinforced with 12 x Y25 bars or 20 x Y20mm bars. Instead they used 10 x Y20 bars (as seen in the video released by SCOAN).
  • Inadequate bearing pressure for the central column due to the 2m x 2m x 0.9m foundations.
  • Failure to introduce rigid zones for bracing the structure and did not design the frames as an unbraced structure.
  • Failure to provide movement joints that could have absorbed any movement due to creep, contraction, expansion and differential settlement etc..
  • 8 out of the 12 main beams of the structure failed because they were undersized, under-reinforced (both in tension and shear), the tension bars were poorly anchored to the column supports and 8 x Y20 was used instead of 14 x Y20.
  • The ground floor columns were slender and readily gave in to buckling
Pack_of_lies_from_SCOAN_-_Google_Docs

One of the photos of the “suspicious” plane. The building to the right is the one that collapsed.

7) It was a one-sided verdict which left many issues unaddressed and questions unanswered. The church disagrees with the findings concerning the aircraft that hovered over the six-storey building because there was evidence before the court that the incident could have been brought about by external forces such as controlled demolition or an explosion.

False: The report addressed the aircraft, the infrasonic weapon theory and the controlled demolition theory. It is completely false and misleading to claim any of these possibilities were unaddressed, over 3 pages were dedicated to these claims. The aircraft was identified along with its altitude and flight path. The aircraft was flying at an altitude of 1100 feet, equivalent to 109 floors, meaning the aircraft was 103 floors higher than the 6 storey building. Additionally, the flight path shows a horizontal distance of 137 metres between the plane and the building at its closest point. From this they concluded that contrary to SCOAN reports, “[there was] no direct hovering of the aircraft over the subject site that would have caused the collapse of the building”.

As for the infrasonic weapon, this madcap theory was dismissed because the witness had only read about this kind of weapon in books, had not practiced or witnessed the use of the weapon and could not show how it could have caused the collapsed building to come down. What else were the court meant to do with such a bizarre theory?

Regarding the possibility controlled demolition or an explosion, The Lagos State Fire Service carried out a 360 degrees survey and found no evidence of explosives. The Investigating Police Officer said there was no evidence of the use of explosives at the site of the collapsed building, nor perception of any smell of explosives. The Chief Medical Examiner said there was no trace of carbon monoxide seen in the lungs of the deceased and none of the bodies were charred or burnt (Ref 5.00).

8) The verdict did not even refer to the CCTV footage which showed the 6-storey building falling in less than 4 seconds – a manner consistent with controlled or externally induced demolition – nor did it refer to the interim report and investigation by the Nigerian police force which pointed to sabotage by external forces.

False: The NBRRI specifically mentioned the vertical collapse shown in the CCTV footage stating that “…the building failed as a result of the ground columns yielding due to excessive weight on the 750mm by 300mm columns and the 10 x Y20mm bars as measured on the site and evident by the vertical collapse of the building captured by the CCTV of the Synagogue Church”. The BCPG report said that a sudden and complete collapse was inevitable because the building was not robust or stable enough (Ref 5.01b), and that a column failure by buckling can result in a sudden collapse like the one witnessed, more so because there were no rigid zones within the structure (Ref 5.01e). Regarding the possibility of controlled demolition, see response to statement #7.

9) The church also disagrees with the finding that foundation failure was a remote cause because that is contrary to the overwhelming expert evidence of the structural engineers invited to the coroner who eliminated foundation failure as a possible cause.

Misleading: Foundation failure was only a small factor out of many structural failures, and it’s not even mentioned as a primary cause. See response to statement #6 for more details.

10) The recommendation for the investigation and prosecution of the contractors and structural engineers used by the church for criminal negligence is premature because it gives the impression the coroner has found them guilty when a coroner is not allowed in law to make any finding of civil or criminal liability against anybody.

Possibly true: Although the coroner’s report showed substantial evidence that SCOAN and the contractor were criminally negligent, the coroner arguably overstepped his authority by calling for SCOAN to be prosecuted. Perhaps someone better versed in Nigerian law could comment further on this?

11) The recommendation for the investigation of The SCOAN for not possessing the relevant building permits is unwarranted because it did not take into account the evidence that the church had started processing the relevant building approval before the incident. As a matter of fact, the amount payable for the processing had already been assessed by the appropriate government agencies.

Misleading, probably false: As mentioned in response to statement #3, no other building on the SCOAN campus had up to date approval, so this seems unlikely, but even if true it is irrelevant. They were housing guests in a building prior to receiving approval.

12) The recommendation that statutory responders should be adequately equipped was informed by the fact that the statutory responders who carried out rescue operations in this case were ill-equipped and ill-trained, and that it was the church that mobilised human and material resources to ensure a successful rescue operation.

Misleading: This line is just scapegoating. There is a clear disconnect between the accounts of SCOAN and the emergency responders, but it was clear that SCOAN were in full “cover-up mode” in the first few days after the tragedy, so their statements should be taken with a bucketful of salt. Ultimately, regardless of how prepared or not the emergency responders were, the coroner’s report makes it clear that the disaster they were trying to respond to was caused by the criminal negligence of SCOAN, let’s not allow SCOAN to deflect blame here.

13) Finally, the coroner recognised that the conduct of the investigation of the incident was compromised by the failure of the appropriate government agencies to take necessary steps to secure and preserve the scene of the incident, which calls into question the integrity and reliability of the entire investigation.

Misleading: It’s difficult to imagine who they needed to secure the scene of the incident from if not SCOAN themselves. Nevertheless, the findings related to the structural integrity of the building could not have been compromised by a poorly preserved site. Are they wanting us to believe that foundations were reduced in size and reinforcing bars were removed in order to implicate SCOAN and cover up the real cause of the collapse? The fact that SCOAN attempt to use this minor and irrelevant point to call into question the integrity and reliability of the entire investigation is shocking and revealing as it shows how desperate they are to bury this.

14) We repeat: No matter how long a lie is sustained, the truth will someday prevail!

Truth! Finally, this is something we wholeheartedly agree on, and the coroner’s report is a great step in the right direction. Support for SCOAN is rapidly eroding as people see how much they have been misleading the general public.

What happens next?

Just days ago, Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode released a statement supporting the coroner’s recommendation and vowing to prosecute SCOAN and the contractor. The big question that remains unanswered is: Why are the government still allowing SCOAN to operate? The structural integrity of the collapsed building had been so seriously compromised by poor building practices, why should we believe that the other buildings are safe? The report specifically states that no building on the SCOAN compound had approval, except for the auditorium which had since had three additional floors and an engine room built without approval. Every building on the site could be as much of a deathtrap as the doomed one was, why does the government still allow thousands of people to gather there each week?

Questions SCOAN must answer about the attack on their building

Regardless of your position on TB Joshua and SCOAN, you probably agree with us that the families who lost loved ones in the building collapse deserve the truth about what happened. The coroner has ruled that the building collapsed due to inadequate foundations, SCOAN strongly dispute this and have offered up evidence they believe points to sabotage, or some kind of terrorist attack – some serious claims! They have offered three lines of evidence (primarily though social media):

  1. Footage of a plane “hovering”, almost an hour before the building came down.
  2. CCTV footage that appeared to show the building come down symmetrically “like a controlled explosion”.
  3. The testimony of “experts” claiming that the foundations and supporting columns were sound.

Although it seems to only be SCOAN supporters who take these theories seriously, SCOAN has a lot of supporters, and they’re rather vocal. In this article we look at the three lines of evidence and ask some probing questions that we believe SCOAN should answer if it expects the general public to take them seriously.

Questions about the plane

Proof that it was 50 minutes between the last flyover of an aircraft and the building collapse

Proof that it was 50 minutes between the last flyover of an aircraft and the building collapse

The plane is the weakest piece of evidence. SCOAN seem to be suggesting that a plane seen on their CCTV system could have caused the collapse through some unspecified chemical or sonic attack. Here are some questions we would like to hear answers to:

  1. How did a sonic or chemical attack from an aircraft only demolish one building and leave the adjacent ones intact? Surely any technology if this nature wouldn’t be this directional when deployed from the air?
  2. If the building was attacked from the air, how does that explain it appearing to come down symmetrically?
  3. If it was chemical, what chemical was used? What traces were found of it on the site? How could the chemical be potent enough to destroy a building, but without causing any loss of life outside of the building?
  4. What does the airplane have to do with controlled demolition? These appear to be mutually exclusive theories.

Unless SCOAN can answer some of these questions and give some more details to explain why the appearance of a plane an hour before the collapse had anything to do with it, we think it is a complete red herring that can be rejected out of hand. So we will put aside this line of evidence and move on to the next.

Questions about the controlled demolition

Some examples of genuine building implosions.

Some examples of genuine building implosions.

By “controlled demolition”, what SCOAN are referring to is known as a “building implosion”, you can read more about this highly complex and technical demolition technique here. Normally a building implosion requires perfectly timed charges to be detonated in strategic locations across multiple floors. At the very least, to execute this kind of plan successfully, the perpetrators would need to have structural knowledge of the building to know where the key load bearing columns were. Then they would need access to the building to drill into these columns and plant the charges. If SCOAN want this line of evidence to be taken seriously, here are some questions they need to answer:

  1. How did terrorists gain access to structural data on the building in order to plan a controlled demolition?
  2. How did they get large quantities of explosives and other paraphernalia onto the site without being stopped by the armed security guards or caught on CCTV?
  3. How did they manage to drill into multiple points on the building to rig the explosives without being noticed or caught on CCTV?
  4. If the collapse was caused by explosives, why were there no reports of loud bangs? Why were all the injuries consistent with crushing, not burns and explosions?
  5. Were any traces of explosives or associated paraphernalia found on the site? Please give details.
  6. Who do you think was responsible for the attack? Why has nobody claimed responsibility? Why would a terror group go to the bother of executing a highly sophisticated attack, but neglect to claim responsibility?
  7. If you really do believe that your site was compromised to the extent that terrorists were able to prepare and execute this controlled demolition, what measures have you taken to ensure it won’t happen again? Have you had bomb disposal experts check the whole site? Why were you allowing large public gatherings to take place just days later? Either this was highly irresponsible, or you don’t believe your own stories.

Ironically, if we are to take the controlled demolition theory seriously (which we don’t) it actually ends up implicating SCOAN far more than the structural failure option. Executing a plan like this would have required such high level access for lengthy periods of time, doing indiscreet things like drilling into columns and laying wires that it is inconceivable that the building could have been demolished this way without it being an inside job. If SCOAN want this line of evidence to be pursued, they should be ready for all SCOAN staff and contractors to be treated as suspects. Structural failure would be criminal negligence, controlled demolition would be mass murder.

Questions about the “expert” testimony

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbWOmSECc-I

The “expert” testimony SCOAN have presented is a 13 minute video with 4 supposed “experts” standing over a small, exposed section of foundation. Not only is this video a completely inadequate way to address a hugely complex topic, the experts they have chosen are neither experts nor impartial. For example, the most lengthy “expert” testimony was Dr Stephen Asheri Ntoga, resplendent in an Emmanuel TV t-shirt (there goes any hope of impartiality). He claims to be the “Dean of the Faculty of Engineering in Tanzania”, but no University is mentioned! This title is completely meaningless if it’s not attached to a University. Furthermore, this Doctor has absolutely no online presence apart from this video, or references to the video. No published articles or papers, no news articles, no LinkedIn profile, no faculty staff page, nothing! The three other “experts” fair no better, none have any expertise that can be verified. Here are some questions SCOAN should answer:

  1. Why did the video only concentrate on a very small exposed part of the foundation? How do we know you weren’t just showing the part that was intact?
  2. If you are convinced that your structure was sound, why didn’t you pay for a nationally recognised impartial expert to produce a full, comprehensive report and make it public? If this report countered the findings of the coroner’s witnesses, you might have a point – but a few quotes on video from 4 “experts” with questionable credentials looking at a tiny exposed part of the foundations tells us nothing.

To conclude, the plane theory is nothing short of crazy, the controlled demolition theory is far fetched (but if it’s to be believed actually implicates SCOAN) and the expert testimonies are woefully inadequate, little more than soundbites from people on the street.

If there was any credibility at all to these claims, surely TB Joshua would have turned up in court to present the evidence? Since he refused (4 times) to do this, SCOAN should do the victims families a favour and either shut up about their so called evidence, or do it properly and provide something substantial and believable.

BREAKING: SCOAN to be prosecuted for criminal negligence over building collapse

The collapse building that killed 116 people

The collapse building that killed 116 people

Coroner Oyetade Komolafe has ruled that SCOAN were criminally negligent, and should be investigated and prosecuted, “The church was culpable because of criminal negligence resulting in the death of the victims” (Source: BBC). The contractor will also be investigated.

TB Joshua was criticised by the coroner for being the only one of 32 witnessed called before the court to not turn up, “Among the individuals and organisations summoned, only Prophet TB Joshua refused to testify,” he told the court. SCOAN’s nonsensical theory involving an unidentified aircraft and futuristic weapons was ruled out by “a string of expert witnesses” (Source: Yahoo news).

This ruling may not surprise our more level headed readers, but it is an enormous victory for the rule of law in Nigeria. It makes a loud and clear statement that nobody is above the law, even a self proclaimed “man of god” with a large following and millions in the bank. Well done Lagos State Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe, we salute your courage and conviction, you have done your country a great service.

What happens next for TB Joshua? Since he is currently keeping a low profile in Central America, we predict he will not be reappearing any time soon. In fact it seems likely the SCOAN ministry will now slowly fade away. However, even if this does happen, the story is far from over. Please join us in praying for the following points:

  • For the victims of the building collapse and the families of the deceased, pray that this verdict helps them find closure.
  • For the disciples still in SCOAN. They will be confused and scared at the verdict, but as often happens in a crisis, will probably dig in deeper. Pray that God reveals the truth to them and gives them a chance to escape the cult and be reunited to the families and friends who dearly long to see them.
  • For the ongoing investigation and forthcoming prosecution, pray that the truth is revealed and justice is served.
  • For peace in Nigeria. TB Joshua has many ferociously loyal supporters. This verdict will not go down well with them. It would not be surprising if violence broke out as a result of this news.
  • For the safety of Lagos State Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe.

EXCLUSIVE: TB Joshua is in Latin America on the run from the law

TB Joshua at leisure after his crusade

TB Joshua at leisure after his crusade

It has hardly gone unnoticed that TB Joshua has not appeared in public since his Mexico crusade. Prayer line services have been cancelled, church “evangelists” have been left with the task of preaching and ministering, and his birthday was inexplicably moved from Lagos to South Africa, without the birthday boy in attendance.

The inquest into the deadly building collapse at SCOAN will deliver its verdict on the 8th July. As you will recall, TB Joshua has been totally uncooperative with the inquest, refusing multiple times to show up as a witness. The evidence that has been released to the public so far does not go in SCOAN’s favour, and with a new government in place less sympathetic to TB Joshua’s cause, he could be facing very serious consequences.

Previously we speculated that he may have retired to South Africa to escape the law, but that didn’t quite make sense to us. South Africa has an extradition treaty with Nigeria, a far more robust legal system, and will be taking the verdict of the inquest very seriously, because the majority of the victims were South Africans. So we kept digging, and what we found out was shocking. TB Joshua never returned from Mexico!

We have been following several threads of evidence that have suggested this, but now have confirmation from a trusted inside source that TB Joshua is, quote “still in Mexico, hiding from the law”. Mexico offers 6 month tourist visas, more than enough to see what the inquest verdict is and plan his next move.

Don’t believe us? Let SCOAN prove us wrong. However, don’t let them fob you off with any of the following responses:

  • Video message from TB Joshua in his “office” or somewhere that can’t be verified as SCOAN HQ in Lagos.
  • Hoards of commenters sent by SCOAN to claim that they’ve seen him in Lagos, and we’re making all this up.
  • Undated pictures of him in Lagos or on prayer mountain presented as if they are current.
  • Social media post denying the claims, but without any evidence.

If you were planning on spending your hard earned money to visit Lagos in the hope of seeing TB Joshua, cancel your plans now, he won’t be there!