BEVERLY HILLS, January 27, (THEWILL) – The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has thrown its weight behind Apostle Johnson Suleman, founder of Omega Fire Ministries, following the failed attempt to arrest him by operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) for ‘inciting’ statements.
THEWILL recalls that Suleman had ordered the killing of any Fulani herdsman found near his church saying he had been warned that Fulani herdsmen were planning to attack him.
An attempt by DSS operatives to arrest him in Ado-Ekiti, on Tuesday, was thwarted by the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose as the preacher later explained that he was not targeting any Fulani herdsmen, but only those who may seek to kill him, saying that killing them would be in self-defence.
In its reaction to the development on Friday, the Christian umbrella body in Nigeria, CAN, described the planned arrest as “an attempt to turn Christians to refugees in their own country” as it also criticised Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, saying he has failed to speak up against attacks on Christians.
The association condemned the killings in southern Kaduna, describing it as genocide and accused Osinbajo of not speaking up against attacks on Christians, saying his “studied silence is no longer golden.”
“Apostle Suleman has become a refugee in Ekiti state as security operatives are said to be searching every nook and cranny of the state with a view to arresting him,” CAN said in a statement on Friday signed by Bayo Oladeji, the Special Assistant on Media and Communication to the CAN President, Supo Ayokunle.
“If there is an urgent need to interrogate Apostle Suleman on any issue, it would only have been proper to extend a formal or informal invitation to him from the SSS rather than Gestapo approach used in the attempt to arrest him.
“It should be noted that under Nigerian Laws, he is presumed innocent until a court of law proves otherwise. Or have they extended the proposed obnoxious law that forbids religious preaching without the permission of the state governor down south too?
“Treating Ministers of God and our members as common criminals is unacceptable to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). Enough is enough.
“The Police have been releasing those who were arrested for the killing of our members in Kano and Kubwa (Abuja) while our leaders are being subjected to untold hardship for no just cause.
“It is high time the overzealous security agencies knew that Nigeria remains a secular state and any attempt to turn the country into a refugee camp for Christians will not be acceptable and will be resisted with every lawful means.
“The actions of Apostle Suleman is a mere expression of his fundamental right, which every Nigerian is entitled to.
“The Constitution states unambiguously that ‘Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference’.
“We call on the acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, to intervene in all the clampdown on the Church in Nigeria after all, he is in the office primarily to represent the interest of the Christians and his studied silence is no longer golden,” it said.