The Christian Youth Project (CYP) has stated that the General Overseer of Omega Fire Ministries (OFM), Apostle Johnson Suleiman, should not have been treated as a criminal by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).
It condemned the continuous killing of Christians by Fulani herdsmen in northern Nigeria, especially in Southern Kaduna, stressing that injustice anywhere will be a threat to justice everywhere.
CYP, through its National President, Pepple Ibiwari Jnr., stated these yesterday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, during a news conference.
It said: “We (CYP members) strongly and unequivocally condemn in totality, the ridicule and public embarrassment of Apostle Suleiman by the DSS.
“Apostle Suleiman, being a religious leader and a public personality of high repute, should have initially been invited to clarify himself, as being done now and not treat him like a common criminal. Religious matters are very delicate. As such, should be treated with caution, to avoid misrepresentation of such actions on Christians.
“This should not be a new trend that has started with Apostle Suleiman, which may also be targeted at other Christian leaders. We call on Christians to be vigilant and security conscious, to avoid being victims of religious and hate attacks.
“The gospel of Jesus Christ advocates love and peace, not hate. As such, Christian youths do not conform to religious crisis or killings on any grounds.
“While we appreciate the DSS and other security agencies in ensuring peace and security in Nigeria, we call for intensified efforts to put a final stop to the continuous and increasing killing of Christians by Fulani herdsmen. We await the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators.”
The non-denominational coalition of Christian youths from churches, Christian organisations and groups across Nigeria also expressed displeasure at religious intolerance and hate speeches in Nigeria, while admonishing Christians not to be stupid or foolish.
The group urged Christians in the country to be more united and to always speak with one voice, in order to earn the respect of other Nigerians.
The President, Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide, Mr Johnson Suleman, has said his invitation by the Department of State Services (DSS) is in order.
Suleman said this while briefing reporters in Abuja on Monday.
“I presume the right thing was done. They have been in touch with me to come and that is why I am in Abuja, so that I can see them,” he said.
He said that his recent statement was based on information from a reliable source that herdsmen were coming to attack him.
He said that he stood by his statement on self defence.
“I was talking in my personal capacity on information from a reliable source that certain people in the capacity of Herdsmen were coming to attack me and I told the people around me that if it happens they should defend themselves.
Suleman had told his supporters at a religious crusade in Ekiti recently to defend themselves if they were attacked by herdsmen.
However, Suleiman had yet to report to the DSS office yesterday.
There was heavy presence of policemen and the DSS personnel with Amoured Personnel Carrier (APC) around the services’ headquarters.
The cleric had earlier been invited for interrogation by the DSS at its headquarters in Abuja, based on his recent alleged inciting comments that Christians should defend themselves against attacks by Fulani herdsmen.