Apostle Suleiman Johnson of the Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide on Wednesday denied the report that he instructed Christians to go after Muslims, describing the report as not only senseless but malicious.
The firebrand Pastor was reported to have been preaching against Islamizing Nigeria and allegedly asked members of his church in Auchi, Edo State to resist the killings by suspected Fulani herdsmen, who he alleged of targeting Christians for decimation. The security report had led to his attempted arrest in the early hours of Wednesday at an highbrow Hotel in Ado-Ekiti by some men suspected to be operatives of the Department of State Security.
But the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, had prevented the man of God from being arrested over the comment he made a couple of weeks ago, which the authorities branded as too ‘caustic’ and ‘inflammatory’.
Speaking in Ado Ekiti on Wednesday on the contentious issue, Pastor Suleiman clarified that what he preached centred on was the need for Christians to always defend themselves anytime the church is 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 fellowman to kill a creation of God, describing the alleged comment as a misrepresentation of facts.
In his words, “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 for us to take care of just because of these senseless killings, no leader will see his sheep 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. 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. A town in Aviele in Edo State, Muslims rushed into the church and chased away all church members and started calling for Islamic prayers there. 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 I said 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 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”.
Message from the Presidency
A Director in the High brow Hotel, who pleaded anonymity said when the DSS arrived the Hotel, they told the receptionists that they had a message for the Apostle from the Presidency.
The receptionists passed the message to the Apostle’s Personal Assistant and his Security details who informed their boss of the mission of his guests The Director added that a few minutes later he saw a convoy drove into the Hotel premises and Governor Fayose emerged from one of the vehicles in the convoy, went straight to the preacher’s hotel room and left with Apostle, who had got his bags already packed.