Apostle Johnson Suleiman. That’s a name you hear and if you’re a religious neutral, you ask yourself “what has he done again?” rather than “who has he led to Christ this time?”
Rather than think religion or soul-winning or fiery preaching, you know at once that another controversy is raging!
On Monday, FIJ was informed of Apostle Suleiman’s efforts to intimidate Israel Balogun, a movie producer and Founder of Wholeness Africa Initiatives, for crticising his miracle money videos. Balogun has been summoned by the Nigeria Police to Abuja for questioning over allegations of defaming and cyberstalking Suleiman, the General Overseer of Omega Fire Ministry Worldwide. Of course, this was not the case.
In a video containing clips from a Holy Ghost Convention in Auchi Edo State in June and an Impact 2021 programme in Atlanta, United States, in July, Apostle Suleman had declared that angels would credit the bank accounts of some members of the congregation. And as the video revealed, many congregants smiled their way to the pulpit to present their testimonies of instant credit alerts from angels.
“There is a miracle alert here; she just got a miracle alert of $1,000. Miracle alert!” Suleiman had screamed. “As you get it, run here. Angels will begin to put money in your accounts.”
One congregant who came out even said he received an alert of $989 and 70 cents.
“Papa, there is a miracle here,” one said. “You gave your word at about twelve minutes past eight, and it is now thirteen minutes past eight and she has been credited with several zeros.”
Balogun saw the video and was irked. He released a video of his own arguing that there was no such thing as Miracle Money and that the apostle was twisting the gospel.
“This is not Christ. This is not Christianity. This is voodoo,” Balogun had said. “This is magic. This is not from God. It can never be from God. God does not deposit money into people’s accounts. Angels do not share money.”
That’s all he did. For those comments, Balogun will have to travel from Lagos all the way to Abuja on Wednesday for questioning as part of a “police investigation”. Needless controvery but this isn’t the first one from the apostle, is it?
THE STEPHANIE OTOBO SAGA
In 2017, Stephanie Otobo, a Nigerian-born but Canada-based singer, came out to accuse Suleiman of sexually harassing her. She also released pictures and messages as evidence that she once had an affair with the fiery preacher. To consolidate this claim, she released a copy of her statement of account showing heavy payments made by the “ man of God” in April of the same year.
During this period, a lady simply called ‘Queen Esther’ also came out to say she had once had an affair with Suleiman, but unfortunately, it crashed prematurely. However, after this claim, no one heard from her again.
In his own defence, Suleiman regarded Otobo as just someone he had been helping in the past in terms of welfare and nothing more.
However, in a dramatic turn of events, and after several months, Otobo doubled back on her allegation. She came out to say her accusations against Suleiman were false, and that she was coerced by some sponsors to tarnish his image.
‘KILL FULANI HERDSMEN’
In the same year, Suleiman was caught on camera while asking the members of his congregation to kill Fulani herdsmen if they showed up within the premises of his church. He said this during a sermon after claiming to have received information that the herdsmen were planning to ‘assassinate’ him.
“Any Fulani herdsman that enters here by mistake, kill him, cut his head,” he had said amidst cheers from thousands of his congregants. “If they are busy killing Christians and nothing is happening, kill them and nothing will happen.”
His statements stirred a lot of controversy, with many asking if such comments should be coming from a Christian leader.
PRAYING FOR THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC TO CONTINUE
In February 2021, there was widespread criticism after the emergence of a video of him saying during a programme that he prayed for the Covid-19 pandemic not to end.
However, he later came out to express regrets over his comments, saying the words came out wrongly.
“There is a video trending about me, it was posted by a pastor. It was a programme I had in Abuja. I was trying to explain something about COVID-19, when they showed me the video, I discovered it slipped out of my mouth. There is no pastor that will not pray for COVID-19 to end,” Suleiman said.
He further said he was only trying to explain what happened when the lockdown started, how families were staying together, how families were united and how people made money during that process.
But as soon as criticisms died down, Suleiman stirred up another controversy in April by saying he would not allow his family take the Covid-19 vaccine.
He further said he was ready to stand his ground against any health official if taking the vaccine was made mandatory.
“See people are watching online, they will misunderstand me,” he had said. “If you want to take it, take it. But I’ll advise anybody who has consciousness not to take it. It’s not healthy.”
These comments fetched him another public backlash as many believed he should be using his office to keep the public safe and not endanger it.
THE MIKE DAVIDS ADULTERY ALLEGATION
In January 2021, yet another allegation concerning Suleiman emerged. This time it was from Mike Davids, a former pastor with Omega Fire Ministries, and the accusation was that Suleiman was sleeping with Faith Edeko, his wife.
Days later, Davids released an audio clip in which an unverified voice believed to be Suleiman’s was heard saying he would make him disappear.
The audio clip was sent to the Nigeria Police Force as part of Davids’ petition against Apostle Suleiman.
In her reaction, Faith Edeko termed her husband’s allegations as cheap blackmail. She said it was Davids who walked out of their marriage and that she suffered so much abuse while she was still living with him. She further said she even contemplated suicide, but her son stopped her.
But in another dramatic turn, Davids would come out to publicly apologise to Suleiman, whom he referred to as his “Father in the Lord’. He also apologised to Omega Fire Ministries and Apostle Suleman’s wife.
Of worthy note, though: he didn’t apologise to Faith Edeko, his estranged wife.
Be the first to receive special investigative reports and features in your inbox.