Apostle Suleman was meant to be killed during attack – Suspect confesses

Police authorities, on Thursday, in Abuja paraded no fewer than 20 suspects arrested for offences including conspiracy, attempted murder, murder, kidnapping, armed robbery and possession of illicit drugs among others.

One of the suspects is 32-year-old Yusuf Isah who was arrested in connection with the October 2022 attack on the General Overseer of Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide, Apostle Johnson Suleman.

The suspect, in an interview with journalists, admitted that the attack on the cleric was meant to assassinate him.

Gunmen attacked the convoy of the cleric along the Benin-Auchi Road in Edo State and killed six persons, including three policemen.

Addressing journalists while parading the suspect and others in Abuja, the Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, said operatives of the Intelligence Rapid Team arrested Isah following an intensive investigation.

Isah told journalists that he and his gang members trailed the pastor to the point where he was attacked with five AK 47 riffles.

He said, “The attack on him (Suleman) was to assassinate him. I was not part of the discussion; Ilayasu and Labisca were the ones involved in the discussion.

We attacked him with five AK 47 rifles. Labisca trailed him from where he was coming from to the point where we attacked him.”

The police spokesman confirmed that five AK 47 riffles, two K2 rifles and 180 live ammunition were recovered from the suspect.

“Following an intensive investigation into the fatal attack on the convoy of Apostle Johnson Suleman along Benin-Auchi Road wherein six people, including three police personnel, were gruesomely murdered, operatives of FIB-IRT on the trail of the assailants apprehended one Yusuf Isah, a native of Okene, Kogi State and a plumber, at Agbaraoluwa Phase 2 Ijoka, Akure, Ondo State and recovered five AK 47 rifles, two K2 assault rifles, 180 live ammunition and four suspected IEDs found in his apartment,” Adejobi said.

The FPRO said some of the rifles found with the suspect were snatched from the three policemen killed during the attack.

He said the suspect confessed that the gang abducted an oil magnate and a businessman for whom N70m and N2m were respectively paid for their freedom.

Adejobi added, “The suspect confessed that he joined the vicious gang in 2021 after he was freed from Olokuta Correctional Centre where he was on remand since 2019 for alleged involvement in armed robbery.

“The group specialises in kidnapping for ransom and has carried out about four kidnapping operations between 2021 and 2023, including the attack on the convoy of the cleric before the gang was eventually busted by the police.

The suspect confessed that the gang was responsible for the kidnap of a popular oil dealer at Jetu, Auchi in 2022, where they obtained a ransom of about N70m before his release. The gang equally carried out the kidnapping of a businessman along the Benin-Agbor Expressway in 2022 and collected N20m as ransom from the victim’s family.”

He, however, said two members of the seven-man gang were gunned down in separate encounters with the police, adding that efforts are ongoing to apprehend other suspects who are still at large.

Also paraded were Emu Chidiebere, 34, Samuel Balogun, 22, Babatunde Femi, 30, and Nneka Opara, 32, who were arrested for kidnapping.

Chidiebere, the principal suspect, was said to have lured a Swiss national to Nigeria, posing as an agent who facilitated Gold transactions.

“The suspects held the victim hostage in the apartment from May 30, 2023, to June 2, 2023.

“The suspects took pictures of the victim and forwarded the pictures and threatening messages to the girlfriend of the victim in Zurich, who eventually sent them $2000 via Western Union on June 1, 2023. Upon receipt of the report, operatives of FIB-IRT were deployed on the case and they successfully apprehended the suspects,” Adejobi added.

He added that the force, in the last two months, arrested 548 armed robbery suspects, 242 kidnapping suspects, 365 murder/homicide suspects and about 237 suspects for rape/defilement.