The late megachurch leader TB Joshua, accused of committing widespread sexual crimes, imprisoned and tortured his own daughter, Ajoke, for years before leaving her homeless on the streets of Lagos, Nigeria.
My dad lived in constant fear. He was very afraid that someone would speak up,” said Ajoke, one of the pastor’s daughters and the first whistleblower to contact the BBC about the abuse she witnessed in her father’s church, the Synagogue Church of All Nations (Scoan).
TB Joshua, who died in 2021 at the age of 57, is accused of extensive abuse and torture spanning almost 20 years. Now, at the age of 27, Ajoke lives in hiding, having dropped her surname “Joshua,” which the BBC refrains from publishing.
“I couldn’t take it anymore. I walked directly into his office that day. I shouted at the top of my voice: ‘Why are you doing this? Why are you hurting all these women?'” she exclaimed.
Emmanuel, who has been part of the church for 21 years and spent over a decade living in the compound as a disciple, vividly recalls that day. “He [TB Joshua] was the first person to start hitting her…then others joined in,” he said.
“They used to say: ‘Can you imagine what she’s saying about me?’ Even as much as they hit her, beat her, she would still say the same thing,” Ajoke revealed.
They dragged her out of his office and placed her in a room away from the rest of the church members, where she lived in social confinement for over a year. This form of punishment within Scoan, known as “adaba,” was also experienced by Rae for two years.
During this time, Ajoke endured repeated beatings with belts and chains, often on a daily basis. “I wonder how I lived through those times. I couldn’t even stand up for days after these beatings. I couldn’t even take a shower. He always tried so hard to stop people from listening to me.”
At the age of 19, they escorted Ajoke to the front gates of the church and left her there. The armed church security explicitly instructed not to allow her back in. This was six years before her father’s death.
“I found myself homeless. I had no one to reach out to. No one would believe me. Nothing prepared me for that life,” she shared.
As a young woman with no money, Ajoke did what she could to survive, spending many years on the streets. She first contacted the BBC in 2019 after watching a BBC Africa Eye exposé, leading to a comprehensive BBC investigation into uncovering the abuse at Scoan.
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Despite the BBC contacting Scoan with the allegations during the investigation, there was no response, but previous claims against TB Joshua were denied. “Making unfounded allegations against Prophet TB Joshua is not a new thing… None of the allegations ever substantiated,” they stated.
With the help of former disciples and close friends, Ajoke recently managed to leave the streets, but it led to episodes where she struggles with her mental health.
Yet, after everything she has been through, she remains determined to tell the truth about her father. “Every time they beat me up, every time they humiliate me, it just reminds me that something is wrong in the system,” she declared.
Former disciples told the BBC that seeing Ajoke stand up to the man is one of the main reasons they began to doubt their faith in TB Joshua. “He kept all of us in slavery, total absolute slavery,” Emmanuel emphasized.
“Ajoke is bold enough to confront him. I see her as a hero.”
Truth, Ajoke stated, is the most important thing to her: “I lost everything, my home, my family, but for me, it comes down to the truth. And for as long as there is breath in me, I will defend that, until the very end.”
Her dream is to one day go back to school and finish her education, which was abruptly cut short. At VOTP NEWS the trends where reputable men of God get involved in illegality is quite disturbing however, since TB Joshua is dead the problems seem more complicated as he can’t defend himself. We would continue to bring Updates on this Story as it develops