The General Overseer of Omega Fire Ministries (OFM), Apostle Johnson Suleman, has claimed that assassins were sent after him after he rejected, in Abuja, a bag of money that was offered him by unnamed ministers, who were not comfortable with his condemnation of killings in Nigeria.
Suleman made the claim in a 50-second video watched by newsmen in Benin yesterday.
The popular Auchi, Edos State based cleric’s convoy was attacked at 5:45 p.m. on October 21 this year on Warreke-Auchi Road in Edo North Senatorial District, leading to the killing of seven persons, including three police inspectors.
One of the attackers who was arrested by vigilance groups’ members in the area was also shot dead by a policeman.
Suleman said: “In 2017, some ministers called me to Abuja after I spoke against the killings on a national scale, and they sat me down, threw a bag of money, and they said to me, take this and shut up.
“They threw out an AK-47 (rifle), they threw out a newspaper, and they said take the money or you go by these two (AK-47 rifle and newspaper).
“I told them that I did not understand what they meant. They said if I did not do that (make the choice of money), in the next one year, we would make sure that in this country (Nigeria), you would not hold the microphone again. Keep your mouth shut.
“I said to them I never knew what I said was actually a big deal, now I want to start talking. I said if you wanted to come for me, please you were very free to bother yourselves, because I would keep talking, and I kept on speaking.”
President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Daniel Okoh, and other major stakeholders within and outside Nigeria condemned the assassination attempt on Apostle Suleman while calling for a thorough investigation.
The general overseer of OFM, who returned to Nigeria two days earlier after a ministration in Tanzania, was joined in his bullet-proof Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) at Benin Airport by his wife and children for the journey to Auchi.
The outgoing Edo State Commissioner of Police, Abutu Yaro, now an Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), ordered the immediate withdrawal and interrogation of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Auchi, Ayodele Suleiman, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), and debriefed him at the state’s police headquarters in the Government Reservation Area (GRA), Benin.
The newly-promoted AIG stated that interrogating Auchi’s DPO was part of the measures taken by the command considering the circumstances that led to the death of one of the members of the gang that attacked the convoy of the cleric.
He urged members of the public to remain calm and patient, assuring that no stone would be left unturned to unearth the circumstances surrounding the attack, murder of seven persons and killing of the arrested hoodlum.
A Toyota Avensis car with registration number, Lagos: KRD 92 HU, was recovered from the suspected criminals.
Yaro, while pleading for calm, promised that the command would deploy all its human and material resources to ensure that the assailants were brought to book.
The police chief urged Edo residents to swiftly report any strange movement or unusual gathering within their environment to the police and sister security agencies, while reiterating that security should be everybody’s business.
Apostle Suleman, however, said the killing of the arrested suspected assassin by a policeman was a cover-up, while he called on security chiefs in Nigeria to ensure thorough investigation and diligent prosecution to serve as a deterrent to other criminally-minded persons.