They looked trapped, beaten and ruffled. It was a mix of pain and relative relief. Pain, because all they had laboured for had vanished; pain, because their livelihoods had disappeared; pain, because they lost loved ones; and relief, because now they had returned home and from the airport, they came to the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), with headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria. The first batch of returnees were victims of xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
As they entered and sat down in the church, they began relating their stories of escape one after the other. According to them, it was the tears of Prophet T.B. Joshua during the live Sunday Service broadcast on September 8, 2019 that calmed the crisis in South Africa. As they came to SCOAN, the founder and spiritual head of the ministry, Prophet T.B. Joshua, told them that love would always remain supreme, just as he stressed on the need for unity, harmony and togetherness.
Prophet T.B. Joshua in his message to the returnees promised to continue to help them by praying for them and also through financial aid. He promised to help them by investing in their future which is the future of Africa. He equally mentioned that their spiritual wellbeing remained important to him. On behalf of himself and Emmanuel TV partners, Prophet Joshua gave them N3,000,000, with each returnee getting N100,000. The man of God stated that love is the only language that transcends all barriers.
While telling their stories, the returnees whose plane arrived Nigeria on Wednesday, September 11, 2019, gave different accounts of their ordeals but thanked Prophet Joshua for being used by God for salvaging the situation and for providing succour for them after their return.
According to Uche Victor Nwaocha, one of the returnees: “With me are my colleagues, friends, fellow brothers and sisters who came from South Africa voluntarily. I don’t even know where the problem of Africans attacking Africans came from.
‘’I was involved in the baking business. I baked chin-chin and I am proud to say it. I built the business from scratch. Africa should help us. The United Nations should help us; Prophet T.B. Joshua has tried. If others can join hands with the man of God and Emmanuel TV, then things will be better. Prophet T.B. Joshua forewarned Africa and they neglected it. This is the repercussion. The reason we all agreed to come to the Synagogue Church of All Nations is to appreciate what this ministry, Prophet T.B. Joshua and Emmanuel partners have been doing in our lives. We don’t joke with his prophecies. We always watch Emmanuel TV; that was what saved us. The tears that Prophet T.B. Joshua shed last Sunday during the live Sunday Service broadcast saved many lives. It reduced the catastrophe. After the Sunday Service where Prophet Joshua shed tears, there was calm everywhere. The police and politicians were confused. We took the opportunity of the calm to board the plane and head back to Nigeria. Many Nigerians are still coming. They don’t want us. We can see that. “
Kayode Johnson Oluwafemi equally narrated his experience. According to him, “I stayed in Pretoria Central, South Africa. This incident happened in my base. I stayed indoors for over two weeks before I could come out. On Sunday I heard that Prophet TB Joshua spoke to Africa. He wept on live TV and that saved many lives. I decided to return to Nigeria. I appreciate the man of God. He is a blessing to this generation. After Prophet TB Joshua wept against xenophobia, we were surprised that the South Africans called us for a meeting. They told us that they were willing to settle the whole issue. I was then able to step out of my house. The taxi drivers also called us for settlement.”
In his account, Aamefunam Ogbonna, another returnee stated that “The xenophobic attacks started on September 2, 2019. It was terrible. On September 8, there were tears by Prophet T.B. Joshua asking Africans to unite. His tears affected my soul. I prayed that God should use the tears in turning around the situation in South Africa. I prayed for peace. It was the tears of the man of God that made the police rally round us in saving us from the attackers. We must show love to one another.
Jude Anthony, a Nigerian based in the United States of America but who also lived in South Africa, commneded the efforts of Prophet Joshua in salvaging the situation. ‘’I am a Nigerian from the United States of America. I lived in South Africa for seven years. A friend of mine sent a Whatsapp video to me where I saw Prophet T.B. Joshua calling on Africans to unite. I saw how tears flowed from his eyes. The Bible says that God will answer the prayers of a righteous man. God heard Prophet T.B. Joshua that day when he wept. He is well respected across the world. His message has also been about love and unity. We are here today to thank him for interceding on behalf of humanity. I believe God answered his prayers on that day in stopping the spread of the calamity,’’ he said.
While recieving the money on behalf of others, Mr Nwaocha stated that ‘’We are grateful to Prophet T.B Joshua, the Synagogue Church of All Nations and Emmanuel TV. When we came here, we felt you would turn us back but you welcomed us. We are very grateful. Continue the good work.’’
On his part, Mr Anthony noted that ‘’we are most grateful. We are the first batch of returnees. We are overwhelmed by this. We have lost our livelihoods but thank God, we thank the man of God.’’ Others who spoke, thanked the man of God for the reception and the financial assistance. Olusoji Ayoola, another returnee, revealed that ‘’I am happy that we are back home. We give God the glory. We thank Prophet TB Joshua.’’
Daniel Eluebo, also a returnee could not hold back his joy when he exclaimed that ‘’I want to thank God for what he has done. All these started unexpected and God has used it to bless us unexpectedly.’’
It will be recalled that on September 8, 2019, during a live Sunday Service broadcast, Prophet Joshua in tears called on Africans to unite against the hateful tendencies that divide humanity, with Africa in particular. According to a song composed by him and jointly performed, Prophet Joshua said: ‘’Africa, unite. Don’t let fellow Africans feel unwelcome in our lands. Africa, unite. Remember where we are coming. We need each other; we need one another to grow. The South cannot do it alone. The West cannot go it alone. The East cannot do it alone. The North cannot go it alone. See the fight over joblessness among the youths. Where is the law? See the fight as a setback to Africa. Africa, unite… Let us come together. Africa, unite. Let us live in harmony.’’