TB Joshua, BBC Documentary, and Gullible Nigerians

By Milcah Tanimu

Karl Marx once said, “religion is the opium of the people,” and in Nigeria, it has often been wielded as a tool to oppress the poor. Temitope Joshua, better known as TB Joshua, was a controversial religious figure who recently became the subject of a three-part documentary by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The documentary shed light on Joshua’s alleged misdeeds, portraying him as a fake man of God who exploited and abused his followers.

This exposé, however, is not a revelation to many Nigerian journalists who had previously investigated and exposed Joshua’s activities. The documentary reiterates findings from past investigative reports that highlighted Joshua’s manipulation of staged miracles, exploitation of disciples, and allegations of sexual abuse.

As the BBC documentary brings these issues to the forefront once again, it prompts reflection on the role of religion in Nigeria. The misuse of religion by certain leaders to exploit and manipulate the vulnerable is not a new phenomenon. Joshua’s case is just one example of a pervasive issue where religious figures wield significant influence and power.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, various Nigerian media outlets, including TheNews Magazine, Tell Magazine, and others, had conducted similar exposés on TB Joshua. Journalists who delved into his activities faced challenges, including threats, bribes, and, in some cases, job losses. The documentary reveals that Joshua used similar tactics to influence and control media narratives about him.

Despite the documented evidence and testimonies presented in the BBC documentary, there are still Nigerians who doubt the motives behind the exposé, especially considering Joshua’s death. Some invoke biblical phrases like “Touch not my anointed, and do my prophet no harm” (Psalm 105 v 15) to defend him. However, the documentary serves as a reminder that accountability is essential, even posthumously, to prevent such exploitation from being glorified.

It is crucial to question the circumstances surrounding Joshua’s death and the lack of a transparent investigation into the cause of his demise. As a prominent figure, his sudden death should have been thoroughly examined, and an autopsy could have provided clarity. The rush to bury him without a comprehensive inquiry raises suspicions.

TB Joshua’s life trajectory, from a poorly educated individual to a wealthy and influential religious leader, underscores the need for a critical examination of the religious landscape in Nigeria. The documentary also highlights the broader issue of gullibility and the search for intermediaries between individuals and God, contributing to the victimization of the poor and desperate by manipulative religious figures.

Addressing poverty and improving living standards can be a significant step in reducing the vulnerability of individuals to exploitation by so-called men of God. While religion plays a significant role in the lives of many Nigerians, it is essential to foster a direct relationship with God and promote critical thinking to prevent further abuses in the name of faith.


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