Apostle Johnson Suleman and the Fulani herdsmen’s debacle
Apostle Suleman is still battling to save himself from the inciting statements by instructing his church members to kill any herdsman seen around the church.
Almost two weeks after the vexatious video was circulated on the social media, the fiery man of God has been in the ‘fire’ with the Department of State Service (DSS), making attempts to arrest him at a crusade in Ekiti State, only to be saved by Governor Ayo Fayose.
Aside from the DSS, many Nigerian leaders including the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’adu Abubakar calling for the arrest of men of God who make inciting statements to their followers anywhere in the country.
The ruckus caused by the unguarded statement of Apostle Suleman would not die down in a long while as there has been a sharp division between his supporters and those who think he had no right to make such inflaming statements in a country where religion has been politicized.
Apostle Suleman may have gone to the DSS to honour an invitation and given statements why he said what he said.
He may have been able to douse tension by saying his words were taken out of context and that he did not mean them in the way they were painted.
He may walk away from the whole saga smelling like roses and even creating more buzz and attract membership to his church, thereby increasing the seeds and tithes.
But what many have refused to button up to is the import of his statements and the continued killing of innocent citizens by the rampaging herdsmen without a check by the government and security services in the country.
It seems they have become phantoms that appear in communities, kill at will, rape women and cause havoc only to disappear the way they came with no one the wiser.
No one is supporting the statements made by Apostle Suleman but why have we not taken a bit to ponder on the deeper implications of what he said?
Has anyone questioned why the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai has played the ostrich as the herdsmen continue to murder hundreds of citizens in the state?
As the chief security officer of the state, it is his job to make sure his state is safe and secure but what has been his actions in the face of the unprovoked attacks?
This is the same governor who doles out millions of Naira to the herdsmen to, according to him, stop the killings, though he later said the money was meant to compensate them for the loss of their cows.
But has he paid compensation to the many indigenes who have been killed, their houses burnt and their farmlands vandalized?
He also said the killers were foreigners from Senegal Chad and Mali but as the number one security officer in the state, how would the illegal migrants get into the state, go to the remote villages without directions, kill the people and still move out without detection?
What of the killer herdsmen who have attacked communities in Benue, Kogi, Enugu, Ogun, Plateau and Taraba States, leaving many citizens dead and maimed, communities destroyed and property vandalized?
Are they also from neighbouring countries? Has any of them been arrested and prosecuted?
While Apostle Suleman is being castigated from every angle for making inciting statements, can anyone tell Nigerians what became of the Islamic cleric that ordered his members to kill a female Christian preacher in Abuja last year?
Is the Imam in prison or has he been prosecuted? What happens to the men arrested for killing an Igbo trader in Kano State on allegations of defamation? The last we heard was that the men had been granted unconditional bail.
Apostle Suleman was wrong in ordering his members to kill Fulani herdsmen around his church. Yes, he was also wrong in making statements that Nigeria will be on fire if he spends a day in the DSS detention facility.
He should be condemned roundly because those statements should not come from a man of God.
But what happened when Nasir el-Rufai made this statement in 2012:
“We will write this for all to read. Anyone, soldier or not that kills the Fulani, takes a loan repayable one day no matter how long it takes.”
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