Chris Steven, Abuja
Fiery Pastor and General Overseer of Omega Fire Ministries (OFM)) Worldwide, Apostle Johnson Suleman, on Wednesday condemned the attempt by the Department of State Service (DES) to arrest him at a function in Ekiti State.
He lamented that such a draconian action by a ”Change” government was harsh, dangerous and negated the tenets of democracy.
The cleric in a statement by his Communications Adviser, Phrank Shaibu, wondered why he could be so harassed for merely expressing his opinion on the menace of Fulani herdsmen, when freedom of expression is one of the rights guaranteed by the nation’s Constitution.
His words: “The Fulani militia, masquerading as herdsmen have stated that they are going to kill me. Everyone knows that they are armed with AK47 and have already killed over 7000 persons in Nigeria. Women have been raped and houses destroyed. Yet, not one of them has been caught or is being prosecuted by the DSS or Federal Government.
Are we saying that I should fold my arms and allow the same Fulani militia to kill me? Am I wrong to give my security aides orders that they should kill any of the so-called herdsmen found near me or my church? Is there nothing like self-defence in our law.”
Shaibu said that the firebrand pastor’s message which may have drawn the anger of the DSS and the Federal Government was directed at the fulani militia, in the guise of herdsmen, that have openly declared intention to kill him.
He said even if the comments made by Apostle Suleman were found to be inciting, as alleged by the DSS, a government that believes in robust debate as a means of strengthening democracy would simply have invited him for explanation, rather than attempting to kidnap him.
According to him, the attempt by the DSS to forcefully arrest Apostle Johnson Suleman was disingenuous and cheap, adding: “we expected a more civilized conduct from a government that promised Change.”
He said, “What most people do not know is that Apostle Suleiman’s father was a Muslim. He was born into a Muslim family. He has brothers and sisters that are Muslims and enjoy very cordial relationship with them. So to brand him anti Islam or anti Muslim is being mischievous or taking apostle’s message out of context.
“It is sad that a government that promised a new dawn for Nigerians on 29 May, 2015 under a President who pledged to ‘allow all arms of government (including free press) to function optimally and avoid the confusion which all too often bedevils governance’, has now resorted to a tactic that was so cruelly employed by the military in the country’s not-too-distant past. Is this the Change that President Muhammadu Buhari promised Nigerians?”
Shaibu wondered why the government has chosen to dissipate so much time and energy on hounding an innocent citizen for the mere fact that he expressed his opinion, at a time of growing national insecurity, worsening electricity supply and mass unemployment, just to mention a few.
”The Muhammadu Buhari administration’s hounding of Apostle Johnson Suleman, instead of tackling headlong the many problems that are making life unbearable for Nigerians, brings to mind the adage that a man who carries an elephant on his head should not be searching for a cricket.
There is no way the Buhari administration will escape the kind of issues that Apostle Suleman has raised if it does not stop the senseless killing of innocent Nigerians by Fulani herdsmen.
We are calling on the government to leave Apostle Johnson Suleman alone and apologise to him for the unwarranted intimidation and harassment to which he was subjected, Wednesday morning.” He said