The Nigeria Police Force Force has released a Youtuber, Israel Balogun, who was earlier detained for exposing a money miracle ‘session’ performed by Apostle Johnson Suleman, founder of Omega Fire Ministries.
The police had through a letter dated 3rd August 2021 with reference No. CR:3000/×/FHQ/SEB/ABJ//T3/VOL.3 signed by ACP Y.Y Abubakar, Special Enquiry Bureau, Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department, had invited the 38-year-old for interrogation on Wednesday but detained him, after being given stringent bail conditions.Balogun had passed the night in police custody but his lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, while addressing the press on Thursday in Abuja, announced his release after his detention for over 24 hours.
The Youtuber was also seen beside the lawyer during an address streamed on Facebook.
“Finally, we have Mr Israel Balogun here with us. He has just been released from the custody of the FCIID in Abuja over the petition filed by Apostle Johnson Suleman. He had petitioned the police and got him (Balogun) arrested over alleged cyber-stalking and defamation,” the lawyer said.
“He spent the night in custody which was unnecessary.”
Balogun had, in one of his videos on Wholeness African Initiative, condemned a miracle service organised by Suleman where the cleric was heard telling members that he would command angels to drop money into the bank accounts of those who believe.
The programmes were held in Edo, Nigeria and Atlanta, the United States, in June and July, 2021 respectively.
In reaction, Suleman’s solicitors sent a letter dated 27th July to Balogun demanding a retraction of the posts (video and write-ups) alongside a written apology to the minister.
They stated that Balogun’s action was a case of defamation of character against Apostle Suleman whose church, Omega Fire Ministries has members in 52 countries of the world.
In the letter, Balogun’s statements were described as “hate speech, cybercrime terrorism, unsubstantiated and threat to his (Suleman’s) social and religious image.”
They stated explicitly that failure to do as requested will attract a full lawsuit against Balogun.
The video of the controversial programme shows Suleman saying, “The Holy Ghost just whispered to me, I’m going to pray and make declarations, after that you will check your account.”
Another voice said, “Papa (a term used by church members for Suleman), there is a miracle alert here, she just got her alert of $1,000.”
Suleman said again, “Miracle alert, as you get it, run here. Angels begin to put money in your account.”
In his analysis that has now brought about threats, Balogun had said, “Apostle Suleman is destroying the gospel of God, why would a man begin by telling people there will be miracle money in their accounts, you are using the name of Christ to do Miracle or Magic?
“This is not the gospel, this man stood in the midst of the people, in the church in Atlanta and in his church in Nigeria asking people to bring out their phones and there would be miracle money in their account. You must not fold your arms and allow such a thing to continue, Nigerian Christian leaders must dissociate themselves from something like this, they must tell the world that they are never part of the gospel that this man is preaching.
“This is not Christ, this is not Christianity, this is voodoo, this is magic, this is not from God and it can never be from God. God does not deposit money in people’s accounts, angels do not share money. It is either this guy has some people behind the scenes who have pre-collected people’s bank details, who do not even know they wanted to use it for anything.”