“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,” said the statement signed by Edo police spokesman, Iwegbu Jennifer.
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.
According to Channels Television, the suspect was reportedly arrested alive and handed over to the police after gunmen opened fire on the convoy of the cleric on Friday evening along the Benin–Auchi Road in Edo State.
Seven persons were confirmed killed during the attack including police orderlies as well as Suleman’s aides while the cleric narrowly escaped.
In a viral video, a voice said to be that of a 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.”
However, the cleric said the attack was an assassination attempt and alleged that the gunmen weren’t kidnappers.
“Lies…there weren’t kidnappers… He was caught and handed over and the police killed him immediately…Why killing him on the spot? Who is trying to cover up traces?” the preacher asked.