Fayose foils DSS bid to arrest pastor in Ekiti
Governor Ayodele Fayose yesterday foiled an attempt by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) to arrest Apostle Johnson Suleiman of The Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide in Ado Ekiti.
The firebrand cleric was alleged to have been preaching against the alleged Islamisation of the country and asking members of his church in Auchi, Edo State to resist the killings by suspected Fulani herdsmen, whom he said were targeting Christians for decimation.
This development shows the deepening mutual suspicion between Christians and Muslims in the country as Fulani herdsmen who have been accused of killing citizens in southern Kaduna and other parts of the country have not been apprehended and prosecuted.
The pastor who was in the Ekiti State capital for a two-day crusade that was also attended by Fayose was trailed, after paying a courtesy visit to the governor at the Government House, to his hotel room by the operatives of the DSS in Adebayo area of the state capital. The officers who almost forced their way to Sulaiman’s room were resisted by security men at the hotel who insisted on knowing their mission.
The cleric was alerted and he called Fayose who personally led a rescue mission to prevent the abduction of Suleiman and took him to safety.
Narrating his ordeal around 2:00 a.m., the pastor said: “I came to Ado Ekiti for a crusade. But I had a premonition that I was being trailed after I preached that Christians should retaliate any attack or killings by the Fulani herdsmen. These herdsmen have turned many Christians to orphans and widowers but the time has come to protect ourselves.
“I received several calls from hidden numbers trying to locate where I was and I had warned my security men not to allow any Fulani man to come near me. So when the men of DSS came in the middle of the night, I knew their mission and I had to call the governor because if they arrest me, they will put this country on fire.”
Governor Fayose expressed surprise that a man of God would be trailed to be arrested by the men of DSS. “I expected the security operatives to invite him if they have any issue with him instead of arresting him in the dead of the night after of a powerful and spirit-filled crusade in my state.
“I personally attended his crusade and I think it is wrong for a man of God who is armless, that could be invited if they have any issue against him to be so treated. Are Christians and Muslims under different dispensations of the rule of law? That’s why I went there to rescue him. Let them kill two of us together. But when they saw my vehicles and the crowd, they fled.
“We have information that instructions came from DSS in Abuja that the pastor should be arrested. We are not in a fascist state, the Federal Government must learn to respect the rights of Nigerians and freedom of expression.
“This is unacceptable, we are in a democracy and Nigerians should warn the presidency against putting this country on fire because religion is an emotional thing,” he said.
The Guardian could not reach the DSS for comments. But further findings revealed that there was a standing order from the
leadership of the DSS that the preacher be brought for questioning, regarding a videoed sermon, where he allegedly ordered members of his church to “kill any Fulani herdsman” that comes near them.
The preacher captured on tape that went viral, alleged a plot to assassinate him by Fulani herdsmen. According to him he was alerted twice
by an anonymous caller of the assassination plot.
Some Nigerians have reacted differently to the video.
Pastor Greg Osarodion of the Broaderway Assembly in Abuja said “Apostle Suleiman is one of the blunt preachers we have in the country. He is known for his fiery preaching, although his reaction is not in line with his calling, but he is human.
“A man of his standing should measure his comments, he has a large congregation, many of whom take him as their role model and take anything he tells them as coming from God. Agreed, a threat to his life is a serious thing, but giving a directive that those that stray to his church should be killed is going too far.”
Another Pastor with Dayspring Bible Church also in Abuja, who preferred not to be named, told The Guardian, “it is just a manifestation
of the human being in the preacher. Every Christian is angry at the ongoing killings in southern Kaduna and the menace of the herdsmen in all parts of the country. But it is better to be circumspect in all we do, the message we give to our congregation would surely go a long way in shaping their outlook and behaviour as well as social interaction out there, especially strict adherents.”
The leadership of Omega Fire Ministry (OFM) owned by Suleiman accused the Federal Government of being behind the attempted arrest of its president over his condemnation of the killing of Christians in southern Kaduna and activities of violent herdsmen.
Addressing a press conference in Benin City, the head of the Benin Zonal church, Pastor Azemhe Azena said the recent attempted arrest was a fight against Christendom.
Azemhe alleged that thousands of defenseless Christians had been killed across various cities in the country recently, with nearly a thousand so far killed in southern Kaduna alone. “Shockingly, there has been no firm statement or action by the Nigerian government to stop this destruction of lives and property, neither has anyone been arrested or charged to court, largely because these senseless killings are being perpetrated by kinsmen of the president. And because of the body language of the president, these killings have progressively increased,” he said.