Nigerian televangelist to be buried in Lagos

Nigerian pastor TB Joshua speaks during a New Year's memorial service for the South African relatives of those killed in a building collapse at his Lagos megachurch on December 31, 2014

TB Joshua often toured Africa, the US, the UK and South America

Popular Nigerian televangelist TB Joshua is being buried in Lagos after a week of funeral rites.

Thousands of mourners have gathered at his church, the Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in the Ikotun area of Lagos.

The 57-year-old died on 5 June after a brief illness, the church said.

Temitope Balogun Joshua was revered by people from around the world and tens of thousands of people attended his weekly services.

His rise to prominence in the late 1990s coincided with the explosion of “miracle” programmes performed on Nigerian TV by various pastors.

His ministry professed to heal all manner of illnesses, including HIV/Aids and attracted people from all over the world.

Known as the “Prophet” by his followers, he ran the Christian television station Emmanuel TV and often toured Africa, the US, the UK and South America.

Mr Joshua came from a poor background and was brought up by his Muslim uncle following the death of his Christian father.

Other popular Nigerian mega-pastors were missing from the week of memorials to Mr Joshua, highlighting the frosty relationship he had with them.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (Can) and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) previously described him as an “impostor” who belonged to a group of “occults” that had infiltrated Christianity.

Can however did issue a statement a few days after his death, saying “the loss was not only to the family and the church, but to Nigeria and the world at large”.

Mr Joshua’s followers found him charismatic and down-to-earth, and thousands are expected to turn up for his burial.

A woman cries at TB Joshua's church

Funeral rites for the pastor are also happening in his hometown of Arigidi-Akoko in Ondo state

On Thursday, the hearse carrying his body made a stop at his favourite “prayer mountain”, a small hill in the Agodo area of Lagos where he spent days isolated in prayer.

Thousands of mourners then received the corpse at his church where he lay in state.

His wife, Evelyn Joshua, who has now been appointed the general overseer of the church, said her late husband grew the church from an eight-member assembly to what it is today.

“For gold to become gold it must pass through fire. I just want thank you for being a good father to our children,” she said at Tuesday’s all-day tributes service.

His children; Sarah Joshua, Promise Joshua and Heart Joshua described their father as “a man with a formidable dedication”.

“My father was the biggest humanitarian I ever knew,” said Sarah.

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