Johannesburg - Controversial Nigerian pastor TB Joshua sent out a warning to his critics just before one of his followers jumped off an upper tier of the church.
Joshua has been under fire since a guest house at The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (Scoan) collapsed, killing 115 people, of whom 84 were South African. “Your prayers for the relations and the victims of all those involved in the accident, I want to say thank you for your loyal prayers,” Joshua told his congregation during his sermon on Sunday.
A video of the sermon was uploaded to YouTube by Joshua’s network, Emmanuel TV.
“I can’t wait to visit them, I can’t wait to visit the countries,” Joshua told his followers.
Joshua then spoke about the release of new CCTV footage of the collapse on Saturday and said this would prove to investigators that his church was not responsible for the collapse.
“If this one does not satisfy them, don’t worry. The battle is for the Lord,” he said.
Joshua, a self-proclaimed prophet, then alluded to having visions of the building collapse.
“For the past three weeks before the event I was giving you (advice) how to handle the situation at hand,” he said. “People ask me a lot of questions on e-mail, why TB Joshua could not see this vision… I have something. I do not want to bring it up for now.”
Joshua warned his followers that critics would “advise you and tell you what to do when they could not stop what happened”.
“Please warn your family, everyone, to be very careful. This issue at hand is a delicate issue.”
Satan and “his people” were trying to attack the church in the wake of the collapse, Joshua claimed. “This is an issue for them, for Satan to disturb your faith with their negative words.”
He also slammed suggestions he was using his position for money and influence.
“I mean, go back to my record as a minister of God. So please, this is a warning whatever anybody wants to write, let them write it, okay? They will be the ones who read it,” he said, receiving a loud cheer from the packed church hall.
About 50 minutes into his hour-long sermon, a man leapt off the second tier of the church hall and landed in the middle of the seated congregants. Joshua then excused himself and said he had to go and deal with an emergency and when he returned he addressed the congregants about what happened.
“He’s (the jumper) telling me he loves me and he wants to die. Somebody who loves me wants to die and put me in trouble,” he said.
In a separate YouTube video, the man stands on the altar next to Joshua with a bandaged hand and Joshua shows the congregation a video of him jumping which was recorded by one of the church’s cameras.
“So in the same vein (with) what happened to the building, how it was captured just like that. There’s nothing you can do secretly here without being exposed,” Joshua said.
Meanwhile the DNA analysis of all victims of the collapse of the guest house at The Synagogue, Church of All Nations will be done in a South African laboratory.
Lagos University Teaching Hospital chief medical director Professor Adewale Oke said on Tuesday this was for convenience.
‘’You know there are over 80 South Africans that died in the disaster, if we use a laboratory outside South Africa, the victims’ relations will have to fly to Nigeria to submit their DNA and this will not be convenient for them.
‘’For DNA, you have to get relations of victims to put down specimens. We know that South Africa has the competence to take the DNA of relations of the victims who are South Africans, in their country,’’ Oke said.
DNA specimens and tissue from all the bodies would also be taken to the South African laboratory.