The President, Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide, Apostle Johnson Suleman, has slammed the police for killing the arrested prime suspect involved in the brutal attack on his convoy, a situation that led to the death of three policemen, two drivers and two others.
The PUNCH had reported that the cleric returned from a foreign trip and was heading for a destination in the state when the gunmen attacked his convoy along the Benin–Auchi Road, Edo State, around 5pm.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Chidi Nwabuzor, who confirmed the attack, said six persons, including policemen and Suleman’s drivers, were killed, adding that efforts were ongoing to locate the whereabouts of the cleric’s domestic worker.
“The attack is confirmed. Three policemen were murdered; two of his (Suleman’s) drivers were killed; one domestic female worker was killed and they are still searching for another female domestic worker.
“As we speak, Apostle Johnson Suleman is safe. One of the hoodlums was gunned down and one of the vehicles was recovered,” Nwabuzor said on Friday.
A 42 seconds video clip showing the corpse of the killed suspect in a vehicle had been trending online.
In the video clip, a policeman was heard describing the slain suspect as a kidnapper.
The policeman said, “One of the kidnappers that was caught today (Friday) while the DPO, CSP Ayodele Sulaiman, led the operation along Iyewe-Auchi Road, and after a gun battle, this one (suspect) was gunned down while others escaped with bullet wounds. Bush combing is ongoing.”
Reacting to the video, Suleman, in a tweet, condemned the killing of the suspect who was handed over to the police alive, alleging that it was an attempt to cover up traces that could lead to those behind the attack.
The cleric’s tweet read, “Lies…there weren’t kidnappers… He was caught and handed over and the police killed him immediately. Why? Why killing him on the spot? Who is trying to cover up traces?”
Also reacting, Suleman’s lawyer, Samuel Amune, while demanding a thorough investigation into the case, slammed the police for killing the suspect who was alive when the youths and the vigilante caught him and handed him over to the police.
He said, “As I speak with you now, I am with Apostle Suleman, and I am examining the vehicle in his compound. One of the boys was caught yesterday by vigilantes and he was handed over alive to the Auchi Police Division.
“But ironically, we don’t know what happened and the next thing we heard was that the police have shot him dead. I don’t know what the police would cook up later to be responsible for shooting him as the police station was not attacked by the youths.
“It was the youths in conjunction with the vigilante that arrested the boy and handed him over alive to the police. So, the only conspiracy theory that one can easily think of now is that was he (the policeman) acting under a superior order to have done what he has done?
“Was there any gang up or trace that they are trying to cover up? These are some of the theories God will help us unravel as time progresses. The police have not given us any official reason for shooting him dead.”
In a follow-up reaction, Nwabuzor described the insinuation that the suspect was handed over to the police alive and he was shot dead by a policeman as an attempt to malign the efforts of the policemen during the attack.
He said, “That insinuation is just an attempt to malign the DPO in charge of Auchi. That is an attempt to dent all the work that they have done. During the attack, nobody knew anybody, and the police were there to prevent any form of attack on anybody.
“The police have a job to protect life and property; it is their constitutional duty. The action of the police was impromptu, the action was going on when the police attended to the distress call and right there at the scene of the crime, everything took place.
“I never heard of any information that the suspect was handed over to the police. Let them (those who apprehended the suspect) come out and make clarification for that. That is not true, it is just hearsay; if anyone has a contrary opinion on that, let them come out and tell the world.”