A stirring article from The News Magazine in Nigeria concerning the extensive philanthropic activities of TB Joshua, as broadcast on Emmanuel TV…
Temitope B. Joshua, donates millions to widows and widowers
For eight years, Magaret Babalola lived the life of a destitute with Dare, 19 and Dupe, 15, her two children. She had been condemned to living on the street, sleeping mostly in market stalls after the death of her husband. According to her, there was nothing to live on and whatever she was able to eke out of her daily jobs was barely enough to keep her children in school. It got so bad that by last year, both had to withdraw from school, as no one was willing to assist Margaret anymore.
At that point, she made up her mind to take her own life, but by a stroke of good fortune a good Nigerian intervened. The same good Nigerian, she said, also directed her to come to the Synagogue Church Of All Nations, (SCOAN), where there is a rehabilitation programme for widows.
But there was a problem. As an Anglican faithful, it was more of a taboo to be associated with SCOAN. But out of desperation, she took the advice. “I didn’t know what to do anymore because I was tired of living,” she recalls as she narrated her ordeal.
As it turned out, Babalola’s fortunes, along with three other widows, Florence Adewale, mother of four, whose husband died when she was six and a half months pregnant; Mojisola Adeyemi, thrown out by her landlord as she could no longer pay her rents, and Stella Emmanuel, a Ghanaian, mother of one who is pregnant with another, took a new positive turn. Before a parked auditorium of the church on 17 February, Prophet Joshua gave N200,000 to each of the four, in addition to scholarship for their children, a bag of rice and another of flour. For Emmanuel, Joshua promised to pay her passage to her home country, where SCOAN’s branch would provide other materials she would need to survive.
Joshua’s gesture was in continuation of an event which began two days earlier. On the widow’s forum on 15 February, Ndidi Ndukwu, 40, mother of four and three other persons who were the biggest beneficiaries went home N150,000 richer. Twenty two others received N50,000, a bag of rice and flour each, while 200 widows and widowers, erstwhile beneficiaries of Joshua’s generosity, received a bag of rice and flour respectively.
Among the group, Ndukwu and Emma Sumo recounted experiences that made the audience speechless. According to Ndukwu, her husband’s death eight years ago triggered off a trauma she thought the sympathy of relatives and friends would heal with time. But no sooner had the man been buried than her in-laws began to mount pressure on her to marry his younger brother. Following her refusal, she was abandoned along with her four children. Since then, Ndukwu told this medium, it has been a tale of long suffering.
“My husband was sick for two years but he kept it to himself. By the time I knew what was wrong, he had died. Shortly afterwards, members of his family turned their backs on me and his children and I could not get help from anywhere I went,” she recalls.
If Ndukwu’s tale is a sore truth about the life of an average widow in the country, Sumo’s experience reeks of sadism. The 49-year old former nurse and mother of nine from Liberia, told this medium that she lost her husband to the tortuous fratricidal war that turned citizens of the West African nation into refugees across the continent. For refusing to marry one of her dead husband’s relations, her in-laws, she disclosed, burnt down her two buildings and a school. To complete her humiliation, they drove her, along with her children, away from whatever belonged to her husband. While running around Liberia, begging for food, she lost four of her nine children to the war, the same way she lost her husband.
“They shot my husband in front of me. My in-laws made it harder for me when they took everything from me and drove us away. I begged daily to survive and the worst was when I also had to lose four children to the war the same way I lost my husband,” she said struggling with tears.
But on 15 February 2008, Ndukwu, Sumo and numerous widows and widowers received life-saving support from an unlikely quarter: Temitope B. Joshua, founder and General Overseer of the Synagogue Church of All Nations. While Ndukwu and two others received N150,000 cash, a bag of rice and flour, including a bible from Joshua, Sumo and 21 others became N50,000 richer, getting as well a bag of rice, another bag of flour and bible. About 200 other widows and widowers, comprising those who previously received various sums of money and other items also collected a bag of rice and flour each from Joshua. Like Babalola, Ndukwu and Sumo shed tears of joy as they received Joshua’s gifts.
“I want to thank the man of God for making us realise that there is hope for us. I want to thank you because before now, we hardly had enough to eat. My mother can start trading with this money and my siblings can go back to school. I want to thank you for making us believe that there is a future for us,’’ 19-year old Lynda, Ndukwu’s daughter and a pre-degree Bio-Chemistry student of the University of Benin, who appeared to speak the recipients’ mind, told Joshua amidst tears.
A source in the church told this medium that Joshua spent over N6 million to put together events of the two days. The source also disclosed that Joshua has spent close to N1 billion since the fortnightly philanthropic gestures for widows and widowers began a few years ago. Widows and widowers, the source revealed, are so close to Joshua’s heart that he has asked them to come for help without any string attached. Joshua himself alluded to that when he said “We will always be there for you. We want you to be part of the family, but we will tell you what to do with your gift. It is a gift from God, who is a father to the fatherless and husband to the widow.”
Bishop Olusola Olukolade, who witnessed Joshua’s philanthropic largesse, explained that Joshua is indeed doing what Jesus Christ asked his true followers to do. According to Olukolade, all men of God must carry on with what he referred to as ‘the directives of Jesus,’ since he will not physically come down.
“This is what every ministry that preaches Jesus is expected to do. It shows that Joshua is a man of God and a follower of Jesus Christ,” Olukolade said. Joshua’s philanthropy is not restricted to providing succour for widows and widowers. He is also a source of comfort for the aged and dwarfs. He is reported to have supported both groups with multi-million cash and food. As one of the recipients puts it, “Joshua has shown everyone today that he is hope for the hopeless.”
By Ernest Omoarelojie
SOURCE: The News Magazine, Nigeria