In a previous post, we introduced the two opposing videos, Deception of the Age, a video rebuke aimed at TB Joshua, and Beware of Blasphemers, SCOAN’s response. The two main accusers in Deception of the Age are a woman called Bisola Johnson, and a man called Godwill Ogomo Paul. We will focus in this article on Bisola’s accusations, as they are comprehensive and closely match (in some cases down to fine details) accusations we are hearing from other sources. Some of the details are graphic and disturbing; if it wasn’t for the similarity to accusations we’ve heard from other credible sources, we would not use this site to spread them further.
Bisola Johnson worked for many years for Emmanuel TV as their main voiceover artist. It is her voice you hear on SCOAN tapes 1 – 5 and numerous other broadcasts.
She begins her contribution with the story of how she came to SCOAN at the beginning. She says that her family were recovering from a fire outbreak at their home, and were in desperate need. A friend of her father’s told them about TB Joshua and SCOAN, so they decided to pay it a visit. Near the beginning of their time at SCOAN, they were told to go and do confession at the church, this was all recorded on video. She says that she found out later, this process is their way of tying people down and controlling them, because they have their deepest secrets on tape which they can use against them if necessary (a point also made by ex disciple Giles).
Soon after starting at SCOAN she became involved in the TV side of the ministry, mainly due to her good English. She describes how one day, while working in the studio preparing for a church service, TB Joshua summoned her to his suite. He said he wanted her to monitor all the people working in the studio, and report back to him about them (this kind of behaviour is backed up by the reports posted here by ex disciple Giles). He told her that she should not be afraid of him, that he was her father, anything she needs, she should come to him, that the first time he saw her, he liked her. He kept telling her to relax and be comfortable. He then asked her to hug him, and then to touch his penis. The next time he sent for her, she entered his room and found him alone with no light except a candle. He asked her to perform oral sex on him. These meetings repeated several times, sometimes involving other women (including some underage girls).
There are several things to note here regarding the credibility of these accusations. First of all, Bisola’s account is thorough, both in terms of detail, and context. Secondly, the behaviour she describes is classic grooming behaviour, an attempt to establish an emotional connection with a victim to prepare them for abuse. If these accusations are false, they are extremely believable ones. The question is, how will SCOAN address these accusations?
First of all, we should acknowledge the difficulties in dealing with a case like this in a country such as Nigeria. Nigeria is regularly ranked as one of the more corrupt nations in the world, with the police being one of the most corrupt institutions within Nigeria. This makes it very difficult if not impossible to deal with these issues (from either side) in a conventional way. If accusations such as these were brought against a UK ministry in the form of a video, they would not be taken seriously unless the accuser had been to the authorities about it. If the accusers had reported it to the authorities, then the ministry would have no choice other than to take it seriously. In Nigeria, the accuser does not have the support of a reliable police service, nor the accused a balanced judicial system to give them the opportunity to clear their name. This leads to the situation we see before us of video accusations followed by video counter accusations.
So how does SCOAN respond to these accusations? The answer is they make every attempt to portray Bisola as an unstable, untrustworthy, demon possessed liar. They start by playing a short clip from Deception of the Age, where she tells how she first came to SCOAN, the voice over says “She narrates a fabricated account of how she came to be at the SCOAN. Now you are about to see actual footage from the SCOAN archives of how she actually came to SCOAN.” This is where, just as Bisola predicted, they bring out the “confession tapes” in an attempt to discredit her testimony.
There are two testimonies they play, in the first she recounts how she suffers from intense migraines which make her act irrationally. This fact alone, according to the SCOAN voice-over is enough to discredit anything she has just said. So take note, migraine sufferers- according to SCOAN you cannot be trusted!
The second testimony they play lends little more credibility to their argument. As mentioned above, in Deception of the Age, she says that she came to SCOAN in great need after her family had suffered a fire outbreak. The SCOAN voice-over claims that their testimony tape will prove this to be fabricated, thus discrediting her accusations. Below is an exact transcript of the SCOAN translation. Note that the testimony is not given in English, so we have no way to verify the accuracy of the SCOAN translation:
In my family, they worship satan. Whenever I sleep a snake bites my hands, and I will loose any of the money I have. Because of this frustration I had to go and get married for more than 2 years we were married and we were always fighting. It’s like some invisible people were living in the house with us. One day, my husband said he was no longer interested in the marriage so I drank poison and my husband rushed me to the hospital. After two weeks, I poured kerosine and petrol on the house and set it on fire burning over three million naira worth of property. Later I found myself in hospital I explained to police that I was the one who burned the house because I wanted to die. I don’t know the kind of evil spirit that is disturbing me. They detained me and my husband spend over 200,000 naira to bail me out
What do we learn from this that contradicts her initial account? The answer is nothing! Her account in Deception of the Age matches perfectly with the account in Beware of Blasphemers. Her family had suffered a fire outbreak, were in a bad way and great financial need. The original testimony may give more background, and be delivered in a more hysterical way, but there is nothing to discredit the latter testimony – if anything, it lends credence to it.
So having failed twice to portray her as a liar, they next try to portray her as mentally unstable by playing videos of the two times she left the church, and then returned, begging forgiveness from TB Joshua. This is the stronger side to their argument, as they appear to clearly show her having left, then returning, then repeat. This could show someone who is unstable and doesn’t know what they want, but equally, it could show someone under the spell of a controlling cult leader. It is not uncommon for someone caught up in a life absorbing religious group to want back in after leaving, not because their reasons for leaving were wrong, but because of the emptiness they feel after leaving something that absorbed every hour of their day.
In summary, SCOAN make a feeble attempt at portraying Bisola first as a liar, and then as mentally unstable. Both accusations come across as bitter and desperate, attitudes which incidentally are not evident in Bisola’s account in Deception of the Age, where she is calm and measured in her demeanor. The nature of SCOAN’s response to these allegations should be a concern to anyone with an interest in TB Joshua. Why do SCOAN feel the need to resort to such smears? Why do they focus on attacking her character rather than addressing and refuting the specific accusations she makes?