THE twist to the Friday evening attack on the convoy of the General Overseer of the Omega Fire Ministry, Apostle Johnson Suleiman, took a different dimension on Saturday, as the Edo State Police Commissioner, AIG Abutu Yaro, recalled the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), for the Auchi Division, Ayodele Suleiman, over the killing of the only suspect arrested in connection with the attack.
Tribune Online gathered that Ayodele was recalled to the command’s headquarters in Benin for debriefing on the circumstances surrounding the killing of the suspect.
Apostle Suleiman’s convoy, it is recalled, was attacked on Warrake Road in Owan East Local Government Area of the state, during which seven persons, including three policemen, were killed.
The cleric who, late Friday night, said that the attack was an assassination attempt on his life, had traced his travails to the 2017 scandals directed at his person, stressing that having survived the smear campaigns, his traducers, he claimed he would not name, resorted to assassination.
But by Saturday, Suleiman in another post on his Twitter handle, alluded to a cover-up as he alleged that the suspect gunned down by the police was actually arrested and handed over to the police alive, stressing that there was no basis for his killing.
The Edo Police Command, through its spokesman, Chidi Nwabuzor, had earlier claimed on Friday night that Suleiman was attacked in his home; a claim the cleric put a lie to by releasing two videos showing that he was attacked on the road.
A video of the incident, which has since gone viral, has a voiceover indicating that one of the lifeless bodies on display was that of one of the attackers, who was gunned down in a gun duel with the police.
Almost immediately, Apostle Suleiman put a lie to the claim, alleging that the dead suspect was handed over alive to the police and wondered who was trying to cover-up the attack by killing the suspect.
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He also debunked the claims by the police that his attackers were kidnappers, insisting that they were hired assassins engaged to terminate his life.
“Lies; they weren’t kidnappers. He was caught and handed over and the police killed him immediately. Why? Why kill him on the spot? Who is trying to cover up traces?” Suleiman queried.
Reacting to the development, Jennifer Iwegbu, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP and deputy spokesperson for the Edo Police Command, in an electronic signed statement, said that the CP had recalled the DPO Auchi Division for questioning over the matter.
The text of the two-paragraph statement, titled: “Outgoing CP, Now AIG Abutu Yaro FDC Orders the Interrogation of CSP Ayodele Suleiman, DPO Auchi,” reads: “As part of the measures of the Command concerning the circumstances that led to the death of one of the surviving members of the monstrous gang that attacked the convoy of Apostle Johnson Suleiman, General overseer of Omega Fire Ministry, the outgoing CP now AIG Abutu Yaro fdc has ordered the withdrawal of CSP Ayodele Suleiman, DPO Auchi for debriefing at the State Headquarters with immediate effect.
“Meanwhile, members of the Public are urged to remain calm and patient as no stone would be left unturned to unearth the circumstances surrounding it.”
In a related development, the Edo Police Command has also confirmed that Apostle Suleiman was attacked on the road, contrary to the claims by the Command’s spokesman, ChidiNwabuzor, on Friday night that the clergyman was attacked in his home.
This was just as the Command said that it suspected that the attackers of Sulei- man were assassins.
A statement issued and endorsed by the Deputy Police Public Relations Officer (DPPRO), Jennifer Iwegbu, ASP, stated that one of the vehicles used by Suleiman’s assailants was recovered.
The text of the statement reads: “The Edo State Police Command has been inundated by an ugly incident that occurred yesterday 21/10/22 at about 1745hrs along Warreke-Auchi Road, Edo State where the convoy vehicle of the General Overseer of Omega Fire Ministry, Apostle Johnson Suleiman was attacked by unknown assailants suspected to be assassins.
“During the attack, three police personnel, Insp Igbaugba Paragon, Insp Afensumu Philip, Insp Akpolor Monday who are all aides of the Apostle and three civilians, Ahmed Promise ‘M’, Momoh Ilegogie ’M’, and Janet surname unknown ’F’, were shot dead by the assailants while one Vera surname unknown ‘F’ was suspected to have been whisked away by the assailants.
“On receipt of this information, DPO Auchi immediately mobilised policemen, gave the assailants a hot chase, and engaged them. One of the assailants was neutralised in the process and one Toyota Avensis car WITH REG NO LAGOS KRD 92 HU was also recovered.
“The bodies of the de- ceased have since been de- posited at the morgue while intense bush coming and intelligence gathering is still ongoing for possible arrests of the assailants.
“The Outgoing CP, now AIG AbutuYarofdc has ordered the DC CID, DCP Samuel Olawore, Explosive and Ordinance Investigators and Forensic experts to the scene, while Tactical Teams led by the AC OPs, ACP James Chu are advancing to the general area to conduct further coordinate pursuit of the assailants. He commensurates with the bereaved families and prays to God to console them, as the authority of the Nigerian Police Force share from the moment of their grief while assuring that the perpetrators of this heinous crime must be brought to book to face the consequences of their action.
“The command while appealing for calm promised that it will use all of its human and material resources towards ensuring that the assailants are brought to book. It further urges the good people of the state to swiftly report any strange movement, or unusual gathering within their environment to the police and other sister security agencies noting that security is everybody’s business,” the statement pleaded.