One of the suspected attackers of popular cleric Apostle Johnson Suleman, Yusuf Isah, has confessed they intended to assassinate him.
The 32-year-old Isah was one of the persons paraded by the Nigeria Police Force in Abuja on Thursday for offences ranging from conspiracy to attempted murder, murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, and possession of illicit narcotics, among others.
Isah was arrested in connection with the October 2022 attack on the General Overseer of Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide.
In an interview with journalists, the suspect stated that the attack on the cleric was intended to assassinate him.
Isah said that he and his gang members pursued the preacher until he was attacked with five AK-47 rifles.
Asked why they attacked Suleman, Isah said, “Actually, it was a case of assassination, but I was not part of the discussion; Ilayasu and Labisca were the ones involved in the discussion.
“We attacked him with five AK 47 rifles. I was the one that opened fire on the convoy.”
The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Muyiwa Adejobi, said journalists while parading the suspect and others in Abuja that agents from the Intelligence Rapid Team nabbed Isah after an intense investigation.
According to a police spokesman, the suspect was found with five AK 47 weapons, two K2 rifles, and 180 live ammunition.
“Following an intensive investigation into the fatal attack on the convoy of Apostle Johnson Suleman along Benin-Auchi Road wherein six people, including three police personnel, were gruesomely murdered, Operatives of FIB-IRT on the trail of the assailants apprehended one Yusuf Isah, a native of Okene, Kogi State and a plumber, at Agbaraoluwa Phase 2 Ijoka, Akure, Ondo State and recovered five AK 47 rifles, two K2 assault rifles, 180 live ammunition and four suspected IEDs found in his apartment,” Adejobi said.
According to the FPRO, some of the rifles seized with the suspect were stolen from the three police officers murdered in the incident.
He claimed the suspect admitted that the group kidnapped an oil magnate and a businessman and demanded N70 million and N2 million in exchange for their release.
Adejobi added, “The suspect confessed that he joined the vicious gang in 2021 after he was freed from Olokuta Correctional Centre where he was on remand since 2019 for alleged involvement in armed robbery.
“The group specialises in kidnapping for ransom and has carried out about four kidnapping operations between 2021 and 2023, including the attack on the convoy of the cleric before the gang was eventually busted by the police.
“The suspect confessed that the gang was responsible for the kidnap of a popular oil dealer at Jetu, Auchi in 2022, where they obtained a ransom of about N70m before his release. The gang equally carried out the kidnapping of a businessman along the Benin-Agbor Expressway in 2022 and collected N20m as ransom from the victim’s family.”
However, he noted that two members of the seven-man group were gunned down in separate contacts with police and that efforts to catch other suspects who are still at large are ongoing.