By the time I personally met Temitope Balogun Joshua, popularly known as T. B. Joshua, a Nigerian pastor, healer, televangelist, philanthropist, and the leader and founder of The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN), a Christian organization that runs the Emmanuel TV television station from Lagos, he had already been arrested and detained for 13 days for alleged drug trafficking more than 10 years earlier in 1996.
The drug trafficking allegations against TB Joshua would prove to be false and concocted and he would be released.
With lack of any evidence, there would be no charges brought against him, and officials of the Nigerian National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) who were sent to carry out the operation would later confess that nothing was found after a thorough search of his church.
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Yusuf Hassan, who hails from Adamawa State, said he worked with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) when an informant tipped them off that Joshua was dealing drugs within his church premises.
Storming The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in Lagos with 18 ‘armed’ officers and six soldiers, Yusuf recounted how the cleric was arrested and subsequently incarcerated for 13 days.
“On our way to the office, we asked him that – if he was a man of God, let him disappear,” Hassan reminisced, describing how the operatives all taunted the cleric en route to prison.
“Our officers destroyed a lot of things while searching for drugs – but we couldn’t find anything. On the thirteenth day he was released because nothing incriminating was found on him or with him,” Yusuf continued.
However, after Joshua’s innocence was established, Hassan revealed that calamity befell all involved in the operation.
“Among the officers that came to arrest TB Joshua, three of them are no longer alive. All 18 officers, except for myself, have been dismissed,” he revealed.
Yusuf himself said he was ‘on suspension’ after a court-case landed him in prison for ten months.
“I want God to deliver me from the participation I took in this arrest,” he concluded.
That singular episode is only one of the many trials and tribulations that Mr. T.B. Joshua has faced.
In September 2014, I would be alone with him at his office minutes after a building in his church collapsed trapping and killing many people, many of them South Africans. Being with him at that vulnerable moment, far away from his high profile miracles captured on live television and watched by millions of people in Africa, gave me an insight into who Prophet TB Joshua is and how he reacts in the face of unbearable tragedy.
There would be a cornucopia of other accidents or incidents, including many accusations and allegations from within and outside of his church, accusations for instance that he was using the power of satan to heal people, abusing his office and deploying total surveillance around his staff with listen-in gadgets deployed at strategic locations in the church, and many others.