Police free Youtuber detained for criticizing Apostle Suleman’s ‘money miracle’


The Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, has released a Youtuber, Israel Balogun, who was earlier detained over allegations of criminal defamation and cyberstalking levelled against him by the General Overseer of the Omega Fire Ministries International, Apostle Johnson Suleman.

The PUNCH had earlier reported that the 38-year-old was interrogated by the police on Wednesday and later detained 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 the release of the Youtuber after his detention for over 24 hours.

The Youtuber was also seen beside the lawyer during an address streamed on Facebook.

Effiong said, “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.

“He spent the night in custody which was unnecessary.

The PUNCH had earlier reported that Balogun posted a video on his Youtube channel where he showed clips of Suleman declaring to his congregation that angels would deposit money into their bank accounts.

The clips were from ministrations of the cleric in Atlanta, United States, and Auchi, Edo State, where worshippers showed their phones to testify to receiving credit alerts in their bank accounts.

Balogun had described the claims as false and slammed Suleiman.

The Youtuber’s remarks were trailed by mixed reactions on social media as some commended him for his boldness, while others said he was seeking relevance.

Counsel for Suleman, Samuel Amune, had, however, said the YouTuber went beyond the ambit of the law and freedom of expression to call his client unprintable names.

But Balogun’s lawyer on Thursday said his client did not defame Suleman but acted within his “right to freedom of expression”.

“We are not afraid of going to court, we are not afraid of prosecution; we are not afraid of the powers of the state because my client is on the side of the law,” Effiong stressed, adding that it is a statement of falsehood for “a man of God” to stand on the pulpit and command Angels to credit money into people’s account.

Effiong urged Suleman to command Angels to credit the accounts of the Federal Government “to assist the country”.

“The government is facing a lot of challenges, even to pay salaries now is a problem, even to execute projects, the government has to rely on China. So, if we have an Apostle in Nigeria that has the capacity to command Angels to credit people’s accounts, why can’t he also credit the country’s accounts?” the lawyer asked.

Source: Punch



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