A social commentator, Israel Balogun, is set to honour an invitation from the police’s Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department, Abuja, over an alleged case of “Criminal Defamation and Cyberstalking” against Apostle Johnson Suleman, founder of Omega Fire Ministries.
Balogun had through his Youtube platform Wholeness African Initiative, reacted to a video where Apostle Suleman told his congregation that he would command angels to drop money into the bank accounts of those who believe.
The video of the controversial miracle service which held in Edo, Nigeria and Atlanta, the USA in June and July, 2021 respectively shows Suleman saying, “The Holy Ghost just whispered to me, I’m going to pray and make declarations, after that you will check your account.”
Another voice said, “Papa (a term used by church members for Suleman), there is a miracle alert here, she just got her alert of $1,000.”
Suleman said again, “Miracle alert, as you get it, run here. Angels begin to put money in your account.”
Balogun however queried why the cleric would tell people there will be miracle money in their accounts, and if he was using the name of Christ to do Miracle or Magic. While calling on Christian leaders to dissociate themselves from such act, Balogun said Apostle Suleman is destroying the gospel of God.
“This is not the gospel, this man stood in the midst of the people, in the church in Atlanta and in his church in Nigeria asking people to bring out their phones and there would be miracle money in their account. You must not fold your arms and allow such a thing to continue, Nigerian Christian leaders must dissociate themselves from something like this, they must tell the world that they are never part of the gospel that this man is preaching,” Balogun said in his YouTube video.
Shortly after his submission, Balogun alleged that had been getting death threats from some members of the Omega Fire Ministry.
The police invitation however came after Suleman’s solicitors sent a letter dated 27th July to Balogun demanding a retraction of the posts (video and write-ups) alongside a written apology to the minister.
The solicitor in the letter described Balogun’s statements as “hate speech, cybercrime terrorism, unsubstantiated and threat to Apostle Suleman’s social and religious image.”
They also noted that his action will attract a full lawsuit if he fails to tender an apology as requested.
Meanwhile, a counsel to Balogun, Inibehe Effiong, has called on the police not be used as an instrument to harass his client.
Balogun was invited through a letter dated 3rd August 2021 with reference No. CR:3000/×/FHQ/SEB/ABJ//T3/VOL.3 signed by ACP Y.Y Abubakar, Special Enquiry Bureau, Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department.
The letter reads, “This office is investigating a case of Criminal Defamation and Cyberstalking in which your name features prominently. In the light of the above and in the spirit of fair hearing, you are requested to interview the undersigned in room 408, 3rd floor, Force CIID Complex Area 10, Garki, Abuja on 11th August 2021, 1000hrs unfailingly.”
Effiong who confirmed the letter said in a statement said his client received the invitation barely 24 hours after the solicitors to Mr. Suleman had written to him.
While affirming that Balogun is set honour the invitation, Effiong advised the police to act professionally and respect the constitutional rights of our client.
He also called on the Inspector General of Police to save the country from the ensuing embarrassment and the damage the actions of the police in this case may do to the image of the country before the international community.
The statement reads in part: “We have responded to the demand letter from Suleman. If he decides to go ahead to institute a civil action against our client for “defamation of character”, we will be happy to meet him and his miracle money Angels in court.
“However, it is important to alert the public, civil society, media and the international community that barely 24 hours after the solicitors to Mr. Suleman had written to our client, an invitation letter was received by our client from the Nigeria Police Force.
“We have advised our client as law abiding citizens to honour the police invitation; while hoping that the police will act professionally and respect the constitutional rights of our client.
“We call on the Inspector General of Police to save the country from the ensuing embarrassment and the damage the actions of the police in this case may do to the image of the country before the international community.
“Nigeria is currently facing severe financial and economic challenges, Apostle Suleman should help the country out of her predicament by commanding his “Angels” to assist the country with his so-called miracle money. The Angels should credit the Federation Account with enough funds to help the country meet its urgent financial obligations.
“We hope responsible and God fearing Christian leaders in Nigeria will have the courage to speak out against the desecration of their faith.
“The eyes of the nation and the world are on the Nigeria Police Force.”