TBJoshua TBJoshua02

The risk in commenting on issues such as the tragedy that occurred at the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos last week is that one is likely to draw the ire of religious fanatics who can’t see beyond their noses.

In a country where people follow sheepishly and ‘men of God’ are seen as super-humans who can do no wrong, I expect that someone somewhere would read this and label the writer and whoever agrees with him as a bunch of unbelievers.

Some will even take it a step further by reminding us of the biblical caveat of “touch not my anointed” that forbids carnal beings like us who only see things from the prism of the flesh from criticizing highly spiritual beings such as Pastor T.B Joshua and others in his ilk when they err.

But it is hard to suppress the anger that comes with a tragedy of this magnitude. It is surreal and almost inhuman to keep quiet and move on as if nothing happened when scores of people died in church which they thought was a safe haven.

A large number of the over 70 Nigerians and foreigners who lost their lives in that tragedy were at the Synagogue in search of miracles. They sought miracles to make their lives better but they found death in a most cruel manner.

But their death is not the real tragedy. The real tragedy is that like Boko Haram and other problems assailing Nigeria today, this was another man- made disaster.

A building collapse is no tidal wave or any other form of natural catastrophe. It is something that happens when fundamental rules are not adhered to. This is what you get when people circumvent due process and cut corners for selfish ends.

There are different versions of the story but one point stands out. It is the fact that Pastor Joshua was trying to convert an existing structure (a 2 or 3 storey) into a six storey building.

You don’t have to be a building engineer to understand what we are talking about here. The ‘man of God’ was simply erecting four additional floors on a foundation that was originally meant for a two storey structure. He was trying to be clever by half!

Death comes when it will but these ones could have been prevented if Pastor Joshua has taken some precautionary measures.

What is more appalling is the fact that rather than show remorse, this ‘man of God’ and his acolytes mock the dead by making up hare-brained excuses aimed at absolving himself of culpability.

In other climes, T.B Joshua, the contractors, engineers and other people spreading that conspiracy theory of a plane hovering around the building before it collapsed should be sleeping in police cells by now.

But because we never learn and pastors are gods in human form, T.B Joshua’s members are ready to lay down their lives in his defence. Boko Haram not their pastor is the reason why over 70 miracles seekers and construction workers perished under the rubble of collapsed building. Rubbish!

Sad as it, this Synagogue tragedy is just another manifestation of our failings as a nation. While Pastor Joshua remains the prime suspect in this case, the contractors handling the project and the officials who approved the plan for the building are equally culpable.

Foreigners reading the story over the internet must be wondering how in Mars Pastor Joshua got approval to raise that structure in a country that has an urban planning agency.

But in a country of endless possibilities – where you can get a driver’s license without ever driving a car – it must have been easy for ‘the man of God’ to secure an approval to convert an archaic two storey structure into a modern edifice by just oiling a few palms at the government office responsible for such. We are that bad!

Now that the worst has happened, the least we can do is to ensure justice for the departed souls. To achieve that, we must call on the relevant authorities to invite Pastor Joshua, the contractor and those who approved the plan for questioning.

Will that ever happen in Nigeria? Your guess is as good as mine.


By Vincent Nzemeke (@)




  1. I am more than relieved to find out that someone else out there mirrors my sentiments. What rubbish about a helicopter hovering round the building four times! Even if it were true, is that the only storey building in the area?

    It’s grating my nerves to realise that they are yet to be prosecuted or queried or what ever the case should be. In an ‘ordinary’ case, the ‘ordinary’ citizen who owns such a building would have fled by now to avoid the wrath of the law. What are we talking about? Where is the Ministry of Works? Was there an approval for this construction? Was there a permit to construct an extra 2/3-storey? If the foundation was initially built for a 5 or 6-storey building but the construction could not be completed for what ever reason, then they should let us know!

    Why were people living and sleeping in the synagogue?! Worse still even during a huge construction of that nature! ‘Ife nke a dikwa egwu!’ This is sheer irresponsibility on all their parts, the pastor, his worshippers, the church ‘residents’ and the government for condoning such. No one has said anything tangible, ‘we shall investigate’, is all we have been getting.

    God will bless you for this article. We should all not shut up. I’m a christian and I believe in miracles too but I’m also logical. I don’t need to be an engineer to know it is risky to inhabit a building under construction. Heaven helps those who help themselves, so it is said. As far as I’m concerned, it is a sin to do something like this. It is just like throwing caution to the wind, putting on a blindfold and deciding to cross an expressway because I am a child of God! I guess the drivers are all children of Satan. Perhaps, God who created and made us know all the road precautions did so so that we can take care of ourselves when He takes a nap! Who is fooling who?! How will you get a job, if you pack up your bags and decide to live in a church months in months out. Scores of people are dead! Dead! Dead and gone! This could have been prevented! Man-made disaster!

    I just pray that God forgives us all and saves us from our ignorance. I am not perfect…I am very open to a superior argument concerning all I am saying. I hope many of us read this with an open mind. Let’s stop behaving like a brain-washed populace. I pray the souls of the departed RIP and that the scales fall off our eyes.

    I still await the results of the investigations.

    • Your thoughts are well appreciated, dear, and your vex shared. We all await the results…and by the power of that same God T.B.Joshua and his likes claim to represent, we will not keep quiet.

  2. Guys, developments in this country are so depressing. I insist that in civilized climes, Joshua will be in jail or at least under investigation by now. But imagine what we have here… President Jonathan and the Lagos state governor visited the site like tourists. There is no point wasting our time, nothing will happen. As usual, we will ooh and aah until our voices crack and then we will move on to the next tragedy. Shame!

    • I agree that nothing will happen – I’m a realist. But I also insist that the uninhibited voice of men like you, Veen, speaking out where people would rather shut up and cross themselves, will one day save us. Again, bro…well written!

  3. Hmmmm m short of words..uve said it all Martin but u shudnt be suprised his worshipers will defend him Remember wat happened in d case of Pastor king.. Let’s hope d governmnt will do something. Wait who r we kidding isn’t d govmnt dat let him put up d structure??

    • Don’t mind them…shebi he built without permits? Abi infrastructre and works dint know about the building. That man – prophet or not – should be answering legal questions right now, not spiritual ones.

  4. Vin, I must commend you for this write up. It’s obvious that corruption exists even in the house of God. Quite shameful! As per whether the government will sanction those involved, i’m doubtful of that already.

  5. So because helicopter hovered over the church it collapsed. If that’s what actually happened, then he still cut corners. Whichever way u see it, the ‘Man of God’ is wrong.

    I’m still trying to understand why people would occupy a building undergoing renovations…and tho I pray for the happy repose of the departed, I dare say that they have a hand in their own deaths. Yes, they were searching for miracles but then while searching for miracles, I believe people should still used their brains. Its a building under construction for God’s sake. Even if it didnt collapse, there are still other dangers: concrete could pour on one, steel rods and nails could injure another, another could fall off, the least is endless. But they all seem to forget their brains at home in pursuit of answers to prayers (for problems they can solve if they give it enough time and thought). I’ll just say that the major part of the Nigerian polulace, the masses, the poor and struggling are blinded by religion while those in power and ‘Men of God’ like T. B. Joshua are blinded by greed.

    And trust me, this matter will just die or get swallowed by another tragedy.

    • I agree with you, Jay, completely. As a friend of mine put it, it is a double tragedy, the major being the susceptibility of responsible adults to such a murderous arrangement as that building. Sad!

  6. so long as the governor and president have gone there and had no candid and strong words for the owner of the complex, nothing will come out of the investigation. the only thing that will make anything happen is if the government of South Africa decides to pursue legal redress.

  7. There is all sorts of foolishness to the handling of this unfortunate incident. There is all sorts of foolishness to TB Joshua and Hus acolytes. There is all sorts of foolishness to this country.
    PS: Did our president not come to condole with the victims’ loved ones? And depart without anybody’s head rolling? #sigh

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