By Balarabe Oshiafi
On Friday, October 21, 2022 at about 5pm assailants in a Sienna space bus attempted to assassinate the Founder and General Overseer of Omega Fire Ministries (OFM), Apostle Johnson Suleman. The attack, which took place at Water Tanker Junction on the ever busy Warrake Road, Auchi, Etsako-West Local Government Area LGA of Edo State, left in its wake deaths, wailings and obstruction of peace in the area.
“Seven people were killed in the attack on my convoy,” Apostle Suleman said in a statement on the unfortunate attack.
The assassination attempt was brutal and bloody. Findings by ExpressDay revealed that about four policeman were part of the people who lost their lives.
Last Friday’s ambush and assassination attempt on the life of Apostle Johnson Suleman is a buoyant display of jealousy and hatred and/sheer cruelty. It is the loudest in a series of orchestrated attempts to disparage and demean the Auchi-born emblem of benevolence and godliness.
Who could Apostle Suleman have offended that is now after his life? This question couldn’t find an answer. But as religious practices go on aplenty in this part of the world, so does does frustrated fury largely due to endemic Political misrule and attendant social regression, pervade the society. So, transference of aggression is a common part of our family and societal lives.
Suleman is a native of Auchi a predominantly Moslem Town. His conversion to Christianity and establishment of OFM, which has become one of the largest Churches in Nigeria nay Africa, is a recipe for envy. But , hold on a minute! Even money is the end product of a thinking or productive process and just as the Bible charges us to watch out for the fruits to identify a people. This Apostle has acquired a reputation for actuating godliness in his daily dealings with members of his congregation and has also be known to stretch his philanthropy to non adherents of OFM whose path crosses his.
During an encounter with Mathew Ifeoma, a staunch follower of this illustrious son of Etsako, and member of OFM, ExpressDay learnt that the Cleric’s benevolence is one of the magnets that has endeared him to many Nollywood Actresses.
“Our Daddy in the Lord does practical worship of God . Apostle Suleman would give you money without coercing you to join his Church. It is because of the way he helps people that make some of those Actresses to be coming to his Church”, she said.
“He is not perfect. He has never laid any claim to being perfect”, an Auchi resident who would not want to be mentioned said while decrying the attack.
Many respondents said OFM which is headquartered in Auchi has changed the socio-economic life of Auchi and Environs by providing cottage businesses which employs hundreds of youths.
“Apostle Suleman has opened up this Jattu Junction further with his Church, School Filling Station and Transport Company. He provides jobs for many of our youths. We are very proud of him”, a Man who simply want to be identified as Abu told this Newspaper.
“I can bet you that many of those Girls who claim to be dating him must have cried to him for one form of help or the other and are now turning around to vilify him”, he added.
This writer attests to the truism that Apostle Johnson Suleman’s dominant thoughts and actions as an Auchi-born convert, a trail-,blazing Edo/Nigerian Christian Leader are already so etched into history books that attempts to malign or hurt him would just be tantamount to fruitlessly pouring water on the feathers of a fowl to cause her cold.
Reacting to the attack on Suleman, a Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Collins Ugwunebo averred that the attack may not be any act of whitch-hunt but may just be the fall out of the stark security realities bedeviling the country.
“I tell you no where and no one is immune from attack in Nigeria. It is possible they didn’t set out to kidnap the Apostle, but he just happened to be driving past at the material time”, the lawyer said.
He urged the Government to intensify efforts towards security Nigeria and her Citizens adding that the need to boost security is expedient as 2023 general elections draw nearer.
I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to my brother, Apostle Johnson Suleman and his teeming global followers and to urge him to soldier on in his quest to instill godliness in humankind.