•Soldiers, policemen, DSS operatives cordon off venue
Folasade-Koyi and Molly Kilete
President of Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide, Apostle Johnson Suleiman, was at the headquarters of the Department of State Services (DSS), last night, to honour an invitation over alleged inciting comments.
This invitation came at a time the pastor restated his earlier position that Christians should protect themselves from attacks by Fulani herdsmen.
Apostle Suleiman arrived the DSS office at about 7.32pm, where he was grilled by operatives of the intelligence agency for over three hours. He left at 10.35pm.
His spokesman, Frank Shaibu, said: “Suleiman was treated with utmost professionalism”.
The pastor, it was observed, was accompanied by some associates. After he entered, calls made to his phone were not picked.
By the time of going to press last night, Apostle Suleiman was still being interrogated and it could not be ascertained if he would be detained or not.
Earlier, before going to the DSS office, Apostle Suleiman told newsmen in Abuja, yesterday, “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.”
Apostle Suleman, who said his invitation by the DSS was in order, added: “They have been in touch with me to come and that is why I am in Abuja, so that I can see them. I presume the right thing was done.”
After the conference, Daily Sun gathered that Suleiman went into a meeting with leaders of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, also in Abuja.
A PFN source said, “some officials were detailed to go with him to the DSS, but we know they would not be allowed to go into the interrogation room with him.”
In Abuja, yesterday, security personnel took over the entrance and exit points of Aso Drive and the Three Arms Zone as early as 6 am. The presence of the soldiers, policemen and DSS operatives, initially caused pandemonium, as residents and motorists did not know the reason for the security beef-up.
The deployment led to the barricade of one section of the road, causing gridlock in the area, forcing motorists to take alternative routes.
A visit to the area showed that soldiers from the Guards Brigade, who were deployed in about seven pick-up vans and three trucks, took strategic positions at the entry and exit points, while policemen, including Personnel of Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Police Mobile Force (PMF), took over another section. The DSS operatives took over security of the road leading to their office.
Police armoured personnel carrier (APC), towing trucks and other heavy duty vehicles were strategically deployed in the area, in addition to other trucks belonging to the DSS.
Sources told Daily Sun that the deployment was to forestall any breakdown of law and order that may erupt following the invitation of the clergyman.
Last week, in a crusade in Ekiti, Apostle Suleiman urged Christians to defend themselves if attacked by herdsmen.
Thereafter, his hotel lodge was invaded by security operatives, but the intervention of Governor Ayodele Fayose frustrated his arrest.
Subsequently, the DSS invited him to explain his comments.
Fayose, while condemning the DSS’ action, said the agency should have invited Suleiman, since he was not above the law, rather than going after him like a common criminal.