The week-long funeral proceedings of high-profile Nigerian preacher and founder of the Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN) TB Joshua seems to have revived the local economy in Lagos.
Many small businesses were making the most of the opportunity of large crowds gathering in the area of Ikotun, where the SCOAN is located.
A preacher with millions of followers around the world, Joshua’s funeral was expected to draw large crowds, especially after the church confirmed a week of funeral rites.
According to local news reports by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), residents in the vicinity of the church turned their houses into stalls, producing and selling various souvenirs and memorabilia, such as branded TB Joshua bangles, caps, printed shirts, cellphone covers, mufflers and belts to visitors and worshippers.
Joshua’s funeral procession began on Monday, July 5, with a series of services, including a candlelight procession and an all-night praise service, all of which culminated in a thanksgiving service on Sunday, July 11.
On Monday evening, a fire broke out in the storehouse part of the SCOAN, with authorities claiming that an electrical fault had caused the blaze.
“The prophet is a known brand; anything done in his name and image is a commercial asset and its marketing value is next to none,” said one of the local women selling memorabilia, adding that she had made a good profit in only three days, as reported by online news website Vanguard Nigeria.com.
Local media reported that everyone wanted to identify with the prophet as they paid their final respects. Many locals claimed that wearing branded TB Joshua items guaranteed ease of access to the church, while those without them were asked to go back.
Joshua, who died on June 5 after a live broadcast, was buried in a tomb on the premises of the SCOAN that he founded in 1987.
He was buried clad in a white shirt, white pants, white gloves and white shoes.
Hundreds of mourners filled the SCOAN to pay their final respects. Some allegedly vomited blood and other poisonous substances while his body lay in state.