Pastor Johnson Suleiman of the Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide , has denied the security report leading to his attempted arrest on Tuesday.
He said there were claims that he instructed during a preaching that Christians should go after Muslims, describing the report as not only senseless but malicious.
A statement from Ekiti State Governor’s office said, Governor Ayodele Fayose, had prevented the man of God from being arrested in Ado Ekiti by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), when they made alleged spirited efforts to pick him up over a comment he made a couple of weeks ago, which the authorities branded as too ‘caustic’ and ‘inflammatory’.
The statement read: “More facts have emerged about how the DSS allegedly trailed the man of God to his hotel room in Ado Ekiti, as a Director in the hotel had confided in reporters that the DSS had tricked the staff that they had a message for the cleric from the presidency to gain access”.
“We didn’t have security lapses. But the operatives came and said they have a message for the man of God from the presidency. We called the Cleric’s ADC and Personal Assistant . The man of God later called the governor who came to drive the Cleric away,” he explained.
Speaking in Ado Ekiti on Wednesday on the contentious issue, Pastor Suleiman clarified that what his preaching centred on was the need for Christians to always defend themselves anytime the church was invaded by gunmen and not a direct incendiary comment that can make Christians and Muslims to confront one another.
The cleric added that it was sinful for anyone to order a fellow man to kill a creation of God, describing the alleged comment as a misrepresentation of facts.
Allegedly Instigating Christians Against Muslims
He said: “They said I preached in Auchi two weeks ago which they said implied that I was instigating Christians against Muslims . I have always been an advocate of peace and I can’t stay around and be saying such. There are widows, orphans for us to take care of just because of these senseless killings. No leader will see his shepherd being killed and be happy.
“Later, I got anonymous calls from Fulani Herdsmen about what I said. What I said was that, if gunmen came around church to attack churches, you must defend yourself, but if they come to pray, don’t attack. But they quoted me out of context. I am not stupid, I live among the crowd and I am not senseless. Time for self defence has come. Whether you are a Muslim or Christian, someone can’t just come to your house and killed your children and you will keep quiet.
“I said the Christians must not go after them, but if they come after us, then defend yourself. This is what they twisted to mean that Muslims must be killed. I am hearing different versions of the story.
“I was in Abuja for three days why didn’t they come after me. But now that I am in Ekiti, they wanted to lump me up with a man they think was against them. It could have been easier to pick me up in Abuja, I don’t live here.
“If this will make them to clarify what I meant, I can present the video of my preaching. In Aviele in Edo State , Muslims rushed into the church and chased away all church members. I have always been preaching that youths must not kill . It was even wrong for the police or security agency to be coming around me and be saying I preached that Christians should kill Muslims without any verifiable facts.
“The only thing I am seeing is that we must learn how to investigate. I am not happy because of the way Christian community have been reacting. They are even saying they will protests abroad in all Nigerian embassies. I will never be alive and see Christians destroying property of Muslims because there will be problem.
“If they had called me and say I should tone down what I said, I would have gone back to do that. I have never been invited, but if I am invited I will come but that will be at my own time. I was not stopped from preaching.
“This Kaduna crisis confirmed that there was a deliberate attempt to frustrate Christians. The National Assembly must not fold their arms and see this happen. But I have no grudge against Buhari or DSS. They are only doing their job, but the DSS did it wrongly”.
“Hatred For Men Of God”
Meanwhile, Governor Fayose has cautioned the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government to be mindful on how it handles issues bordering on religion in the country so as not to throw the country into religious crisis, condemning attempt by armed men of the DSS to arrest Apostle Johnson Suleiman.
Governor Fayose, who challenged the security agencies, especially the DSS to tell Nigerians how many of the Fulani herdsmen that killed thousands of Nigerians across the country have been arrested, added that; “Nigerians, either Muslim or Christian deserve to be protected by the federal government, which controls all security apparatus in the country and the moment the federal government can no longer protect Nigerians from being killed by rampaging herdsmen, citizens of the country will have no option than to defend themselves.”
Fayose, in a statement by his spokesman, Lere Olayinka, said: “If the federal government had acted swiftly like it acted on Apostle Suleiman so-called inciting
comments when people were being killed by herdsmen across the country,
so many lives would have been saved”.
The governor described as strange, the All Progressives Congress’ hatred for men of God, especially those seen as not on the same page with the party, saying;
“It is on record that the APC in Ekiti State issued press statements and went on social media to disparage the Redeemed Christians Church of God (RCCG) Worldwide General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, just because he praised me when he came to Ekiti. And curiously, it was immediately Pastor Adeboye came to Ekiti State and praised me that he was forced to relinquish his position as the General Overseer of the RCCG.
“Apostle Johnson Suleiman openly condemned the killing of Nigerians across the country and went on to say that Christians should rise and defend themselves if the Federal Government, which controls all security apparatus will not defend them and the next thing that happened was the DSS moving swiftly to arrest him.
“Isn’t it ridiculous that instead of running after those herdsmen that have killed over 3,000 Nigerians in just one year, the DSS opted to arrest a man of God, who merely expressed his frustration on the inability of Nigeria to protect its citizens?”