*Slams govt for attempt to arrest Apostle Suleiman
*Accuses FG of inaction over killings by Fulani herdsmen
*Wonders if Christians and Muslims are under different laws
*I didn’t ask Christians to kill Muslims and can’t be intimidated –Apostle Suleiman
Ekiti State governor and chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum, Mr. Ayo Fayose, has challenged the Federal Government to provide adequate security for the generality of the people, noting that where the government fails to do so, the people reserves the right to protect themselves.
While cautioning the All Progressives Congress (APC) led federal government to be mindful of how it handles issues bordering on religion in the country so as not to throw the country into religious crisis, Fayose condemned attempt by some armed men of the Department of State Services (DSS) to arrest Apostle Johnson Suleiman of The Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide in Ado Ekiti, early yesterday, describing it as uncalled for and clear invitation to chaos.
Governor Fayose, who challenged the security agencies in the country, especially the DSS to tell Nigerians how many of the Fulani herdsmen that have killed thousands of Nigerians across the country have been arrested, added that; “Nigerians, either Muslim or Christians, 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.”
Speaking through his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Governor Fayose, who lamented that the APC-led federal government, was indirectly supporting attacks on Christians and other Muslim sects, especially the Shi’ites, by looking the other way while they are attacked, called on the international community to intervene before Nigeria is thrown into major religious crisis. The governor, who expressed surprise that a man of God was being trailed to be arrested by men of the DSS, said he expected the security operatives to invite him if they had any issue with him, instead of trying to arrest him in the dead of the night after a powerful and spirit-filled crusade in “my state.”
He 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, what he described as APC’s 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? “Or who should be arrested between those killer herdsmen and Apostle Suleiman, who merely expressed his readiness for self-defence and called on Christians to defend themselves if they are attacked by the herdsmen? “We were all in this country when cattle breeders openly said over 1,000 Agatu people of Benue State were killed because over 10,000 cows were killed.
We were also told that the Southern Kaduna genocide was as a result of killing of cows. Up till today, none of those cattle breeders have been arrested.” The governor, who said there could also be plans to arrest the General Overseer of Living Faith Church Worldwide International (Winners’ Chapel International), Bishop David Oyedepo, warned security operatives against intimidation and arrest of men of God in the interest of peace and religious harmony in the country. He called for the release of the head of Nigeria’s Islamic Movement (IMN), Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who has been in detention since late 2015, despite that the court ruled that he should be released, saying; “I stand for Nigeria and its people, not for any religion and it is my position that rights of all Nigerians must be respected and protected.”
The governor said, “I personally attended his crusade and I think it is wrong for a man of God, who is harmless that could be invited if they have any issue against him. Are Christians and Moslems under different dispensation 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.” Governor Fayose noted that it was unbecoming of the federal government to be harassing clergymen in the country, noting that the General Overseer of Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, was harassed and forced to resign shortly after he visited him in Ado Ekiti. He said, “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.”
Meanwhile, Apostle Suleiman Johnson of the Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide ,has denied security reports that he instructed Christians to kill Muslims, describing the report as not only senseless but malicious. According to him, what he said centered on the need for Christians to always defend themselves anytime the church is invaded by gunmen and not a direct invitation that could make Christians and Muslims confront one another.
Speaking in Ado Ekiti, yesterday, Suleiman said it was sinful for anyone to order a fellowman to kill a creation of God, describing the alleged comment as a misrepresentation of facts. 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 and orphans we take care of.
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 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 kill 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.
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 a town in Aviele, 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 agencies to be coming around me, saying I preached that Christians should kill Muslims without any verifiable facts,” he said.
Also speaking in Benin, an aide of Apostle Suleman, Azemhe Azena, who is the Edo State Head Pastor of Omega Fire Ministry (OFM), vowed that no amount of intimidation from the government will stop the Man of God from speaking the truth to government, and standing in defence of the defenceless. Speaking at a press briefing in Benin City on Wednesday afternoon on behalf of Suleiman, the cleric said “the greater and brighter days of the country are close by and God in His judgment will surely displace the enemies of people, regardless of how highly placed they are.” He was reacting to his recent encounter with the operatives of the DSS in Ado Ekiti. “Over the last couple of months, thousands of defenceless Christians have been killed across various cities in Nigeria, 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 these destruction of lives and properties, neither has anyone been arrested or charged to court, largely because these senseless killings are being perpetrated by the kinsmen of the President and because of the body language of the President, these killings have progressively increased.
“However, Apostle Johnson Suleman, in his love for Nigeria and as God’s representative to the people, has refused to keep quiet about all these immoral happenings, and he has continued to speak truth to people in position of authority; calling on the government to do the needful, and protect the citizens,” he said.