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Friday, 24 July 2015

Why The Delay In Prosecuting TB Joshua?

On September 12 2014, a five-storey building which was to serve as a guesthouse for the numerous  miracle-seeking foreign visitors to the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) collapsed and killed 118 persons (some reports quoted 115). The guesthouse was in the latter stages of construction, but it was already accommodating guests. Two days later, this video surfaced claiming that the collapse was caused by a "mysterious aircraft" which flew past the building three times at different intervals before it collapsed.
It is curious that preliminary facts emerging just after the tragedy showed that the original plan of the building, and its foundation, was for a two-storeyed guesthouse. An official of the Lagos State Government who visited the site said that she could not find any evidence that the building plan had been approved. The then Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, and then Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan also visited the site. None of these men had any questions for the 'man of God'. They simply walked around ground zero with TB Joshua and shook their heads and looked sad to the admiration of the surrounding crowds and accompanying sycophants.
It has been over ten months, and not one person has been held responsible for this senseless calamity which claimed the lives of 85 South Africans, 22 Nigerians, 2 Beninoise and 2 Togolese. It is sad that not one person was ever held for questioning and no one has been named as a defendant to account for this tragedy. One week ago, the current governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode who is a christian, only mentioned that he would pursue the prosecution of the engineer who led the team of builders of the collapsed building. Prophet TB Joshua has repeatedly rebuffed  several court summons and an invitation to testify at a coroner's inquest, the findings of which he claimed were one-sided and biased, while still maintaining the spurious and utterly incredulous tale of a mysterious aircraft causing the collapse.
TB Joshua is able to avoid prosecution for the simple reason that he is a religious leader, known widely both at home and abroad. His story about a mysterious aircraft, as incredulous and silly as it sounds, has been believed by many, and the fact that the government is so painfully slow at prosecuting him is evidence of the amount of influence these religious leaders wield. The engineer who is to be the fall guy in this absurd drama could not have raised a two-storey building to five  storeys without Mr Joshua's approval. This proves his (Joshua's) complicity in the tragedy. So why is he not in court? Why is he being allowed to get away with such an audacious excuse? Why has no one been arraigned after more than 10 months of the building collapse? What is the government doing about the dead Nigerians who were staff of the guesthouse? Do they not have families; parents, spouses, siblings, and children? Their bodies would have been recovered and buried; what did TB Joshua or the government of Lagos state do for their surviving relatives? What about if some of the dead Nigerians were the sole bread winners of their respective homes? What happens to their families? Who will bell this cat?
Tragedies like these will continue to happen as long as we continue to give men like TB Joshua and his ilk god-like status in Nigeria. They are humans, flesh and blood, fallible and mortal like all of us. It is us who make them what they are. And it would do us, and our country, tons of good if we begin to see them as nothing special, but as mere men who bleed red and cry tears just like the rest of us.