June 12, 2014 – TB Joshua’s 51st Birthday Has Turned Lagos Nigeria To Tourist Attraction Centre – Taxi Driver
South Africans, Zambians & Russians Storm Lagos Nigeria For TB Joshua’s Birthday
Despite the picture painted by international media, it appears the pull of a Nigerian Pastor has surpassed the fear of Boko Haram when it comes to tourism in Nigeria.
The scene at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on Thursday 12th June 2014 was lively.
The steady stream of foreign arrivals, smiling happily and waving national flags, bore no semblance with the international travel warnings leveled at Nigeria, largely due to the terrorist activities of Islamic insurgent group Boko Haram.
When this reporter inquired as to the reason of the exotic influx, the answer from various individuals and airport employees was unanimous – Nigeria’s controversial yet celebrated pastor, T.B. Joshua, who turned 51 today.
“In fact, the entire flight from South Africa was filled with T.B. Joshua visitors,” a SAA employee told me on the condition of anonymity. “It was the same thing yesterday too. Southern Africa can’t seem to get enough of the pastor.”
Officials at the airport I spoke to reckoned that almost 5,000 foreigners had arrived in Nigeria over the last few days to attend Joshua’s church and felicitate with him.
“Nearly 50 Russians arrived today,” one of the ground staff told me. “It was Americans and Brits yesterday, not to mention those that came from Zimbabwe and Zambia; they must have reached more than 500. They all came to visit Synagogue.”
According to recent statistics from the Nigerian Immigration Service six out of every ten foreign travellers coming into Nigeria are bound for The Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN).
The scene at the airport certainly attested to this, the majority of people wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the logo of Joshua’s popular television station Emmanuel TV.
“T.B. Joshua is probably the greatest tourist attraction Nigeria has ever produced,” a taxi driver named Ibrahim who plies his trade at the airport reckoned. “I take people from the airport to Synagogue everyday but this last week especially has been busier than ever.”
The cleric, however, has played down the event, telling followers on Sunday that he would not be celebrating his birthday with any special ceremony.
He stated the current security situation in Nigeria did not reflect the need for any ostentatious festivity, adding that he feels what people in society are feeling.
Joshua encouraged congregants to remember his birthday by praying for their nation, stating that the ‘birthday gift’ he is asking from God is the release of the over 200 girls kidnapped in Chibok over a month ago.
T.B. Joshua was born on June 12th 1963 in a humble home in Arigidi, Ondo State, Nigeria. He is best known for his prophecies, miracles and charitable activities, as well as his online influence.
A Facebook post on Joshua’s official page wishing the cleric happy birthday had already attracted more than 50,000 comments from well-wishers worldwide as at the time of filing this report.
Nigerian actress, Tonto Dikeh, who earlier stated that Joshua’s prayers helped end her 14 year smoking addiction, was among those who congratulated the pastor via her Instagram account.
[Authored by Ihechukwu Njoku – freelance Nigerian journalist]