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Lagos police boss explains how TB Joshua died

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  • “His church people thought he probably wanted to rest or refresh but when they didn’t see him after a long while, they went in search of him and found him in an unusual position..."

LAGOS. — Lagos Police Commissioner (CP) Hakeem Odumosu has offered some insight into how prominent Nigerian televangelist TB Joshua died early Sunday morning.

Temitope Balogun Joshua was the founder of the Synagogue, Church of All Nations. He was one of Nigeria’s most popular televangelists but was perhaps the least flamboyant of his peers.

Joshua, one of Africa’s most influential evangelists, has died at the age of 57. He leaves behind his wife Evelyn Joshua, who he married in 1990.

A post on his Facebook page, which has more than five million followers, said: “God has taken His servant”.

Tens of thousands would attend his services, with top politicians from across Africa among his followers. He was said to have died on Saturday shortly after conducting a live broadcast, but the cause of his death has not been made public. However, a top police officer in Lagos has explained in graphic detail TB Joshua’s last moments.

Joshua, police chief Odumosu said, was officially pronounced dead by a hospital around 3am.

“It is true he is dead. I do not know the cause of his death yet. But the information we have is that he was conducting service. Along the line, he felt uncomfortable, walked to his apartment himself and never came back.

“His church people thought he probably wanted to rest or refresh but when they didn’t see him after a long while, they went in search of him and found him in an unusual position.

“The service started in the evening. But it was around 3am that he was pronounced dead by a hospital.”

The church said Joshua’s last words to his members were “watch and pray.”

He was said to have also reminded them there was time for everything before he left the church hall.

In April, YouTube suspended his account due to allegations of hate speech after a rights body filed a complaint over videos showing the preacher conducting prayers to “cure” gay people.

Facebook also removed at least one post showing a woman being slapped while Joshua apparently “cast out demons” from her. Hiss rise to prominence in the late 1990s coincided with the explosion of “miracle” programmes performed on national TV by various pastors.

TB Joshua was often mocked for lacking the finesse of his colleagues during “deliverance” sessions – an intense prayer that resembles exorcism.

His ministry professed to heal all manner of illnesses including HIV/Aids and attracted people from all over the world.

Known as the “Prophet” by his followers, he ran the Christian television station Emmanuel TV and often toured Africa, the US, the UK and South America.

In 2014, one of his churches collapsed, killing at least 116 people, including many South Africans.

A coroner in a Lagos court said “the church was culpable because of criminal negligence”, but he never faced any charges.

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