A South African mother, Mrs Sonny, whose daughter died in the collapse of a guest house at the Synagogue Church, has narrated how the late Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua allegedly threatened her to remain silent or her family would be wiped off.
Recall that a guest house located inside the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) collapsed in September 2014 in Lagos and killed at least 115 members and worshippers, including 84 South Africans.
Mrs Sonny, who lamented in regret how her daughter died in a place she thought would be a safe place for her, made the revelation in a now trending three-part investigation by the BBC.
Displaying her daughter’s pictures, the grieving mother, Mrs Sonny, lamented that it was her daughter, Sibingile Princess’s first trip to the Synagogue as she was looking forward to being there like everybody that she used to see on television.
She said: “She still had her teddy bears in her room and told her siblings to make sure they take care of them. She was this perfectionist.
“You see the miracles every day on television and you will be like, this can only be the hand of God.”
Mrs Sonny said while her daughter was in Lagos, “I tried to call my daughter, tried to send an SMS but there was no response. That was when I could not breathe.”
She lamented that when she asked for information, the church could not give her any information, rather, they were asked to wait and pray.
She said: “No phone call from Synagogue. I couldn’t sleep. You know, you are waiting for the next day. You are waiting for the phone call. It was Sunday afternoon, and TB Joshua came. It was a live service.
“On television, they were showing us that the building was bombed. They were showing us aircraft. I heard from SCOAN after five days and they said, ‘We are afraid your daughter did not make it.’
“My daughter died in a place where I thought it safe. Because the Bible said, ‘Bring your child in the way of the Lord. I made sure that they were always at church. I did not know I was taking them to church to be killed.
“That is not what I was expecting. That part, I was not expecting.”
Sonny said that TB Joshua’s representatives came to her with money, saying it was a gift, but “When we refused to take the money, he started threatening us. He said, ‘Your daughter won’t be happy if you don’t take the money’.
“He sent me these messages where he said, ‘If you focus on what you have lost, you might lose everything’. He threatened me that my whole family would go down the same way my daughter went down.”
A former disciple of the church in the documentary said that she was in South Africa when she was called, and the instruction was that she should assist in going around to the families whose children, husbands or wives died in the church collapse incident and give them bags of money.
The former disciple said, “It was scripted, your relatives that have passed on are more privileged than you because they died in the house of the Lord. But we gave families cash, no transfer.
“We would tell them, ‘You must not speak to the media. You must say anything. Basically, we were silencing them.”