Prof. Wole Soyinka has said that Prophet TB Joshua ought to have been prosecuted by the Lagos State Government over the 2014 hostel collapse at his church.
The collapse at the SCOAN’s premises in Lagos had killed at least 116 people, 84 of them South Africans.
Soyinka said this in Abuja on Saturday at the book reading and signing of two of his books titled, ‘Trumpism in Academe’ and ‘Chronicles of the Happiest People on Earth’ organised by Rovenheights Bookstore and Orisun Gallery.
The playwright said unfortunately, TB Joshua had the audacity to say that the church was attacked by a strange aircraft.
The Nobel laureate said Nigeria had become such a deeply religious society to the extent that actions that should be punished are usually regarded as an act of God.
He also noted that some years ago, an aeroplane conveying pilgrims to Mecca crashed in Nigeria but instead of the authorities to take action, it was ruled as an act of Allah and no one was brought to book.
“There are others for whom the calling is just a cover up because we have an abnormal respect for the priesthood in this country. It doesn’t matter which one- Muslim, Christian, Orisa worshipper, Buddhists, whatever it is.
“Somehow, religion has almost national character and so it doesn’t matter who it is or what he does. He can get away with a lot. Look at TB Joshua for instance whose chapel of whatever it is in Lagos, collapsed on the congregation. Not just Nigerians, close to 200 or 300. They came from South Africa and so on and so forth.
“This is somebody who should have been charged for carelessness, for flouting the laws required for setting up public establishments. The next thing he said is that oh it was an air force plane that was hovering around that cracked the walls and buried humanity. Has he been brought to trial till today?”
A coroner, Oyetade Komolafe, had in July 2015 ruled that the church was culpable because of criminal negligence resulting in the death of the victims.
Komolafe said Joshua’s church had not obtained proper approval before putting up the structure.