Apostle Suleiman: How CAN Brokered Peace With DSS


By Soni Daniel & Sam Eyoboka
LAGOS— A source close to the negotiations told Vanguard, yesterday, that the chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, in the 19 Northern states and Abuja, Rev. Yakubu Pam, was the Christian leader who brokered peace between the Department of State Service, DSS, and embattled Apostle Johnson Suleiman, who was a quest of the DSS on Monday.

Efforts to reach the Jos-based clergyman last night to confirm the development proved abortive but the source affirmed that Rev. Pam was actually the only Christian leader with him throughout the travail, after the National President of PFN, Rev. Felix Omobude, called to say he was unable to make it to Abuja.

Apostle Suleiman
Don’t heat up polity, DSS pleads with him

Meanwhile, details of what DSS discussed with Apostle Suleiman emerged last night, with a security source confirming to Vanguard that the DSS treated Suleiman with maturity and a high sense of respect instead of the alleged harassment.

The source said the security operatives merely pleaded with the pastor not to heat up the polity with his messages given his large followership across the country.

The source disclosed that the security men reminded the cleric that given his Muslim parentage and large Christian followership, any statement from him was bound to exert enormous influence on the society and create problems for all if not well handled.

The DSS was said to have told Suleiman: “Your message can be exploited by mischief makers to cause serious problems for the country and its people given your mixed background and large followership and we want you to assist the Federal Government to find a lasting peace to the crisis in the land instead of doing anything that could further heat up the polity.

“Sir, we also want you to realise that there is hunger in the land and idle hands can easily cash in on any statement to cause mayhem in the country, thereby drawing back the hands of development and progress in the country.”

Role of CAN

On the role of CAN during Suleiman’s visit to the Abuja office of DSS, a source noted that the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, had earlier called the Northern CAN boss intimating him of their intention to arrest the preacher over a recent controversial statement credited to him.

Rev. Pam, the source revealed, struck a bargain with the IG to give the church sometime to intervene and handle the matter in such a way to avoid heating up an already charged atmosphere with particular reference to the upheavals in Southern Kaduna but the DSS surprised both men when a day after the said discussion it moved to arrest the cleric in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State.

“The negotiation, we gathered, was supposed to involve the Northern CAN chairman and the National President of PFN, Rev. Omobude, in the spirit of ‘what happens to one of us affects us all’, but the  DSS’ attempt to arrest Apostle Suleman in Ado Ekiti which has let loose the avalanche of protests across the country put paid to that enterprise.

“So when the DSS decided to invite the clergyman, the Northern CAN boss continued his peace mission by leading Apostle Suleiman to the DSS headquarters where he briefed the DSS Director-General of the efforts he had earlier made to resolve the matter peacefully because of the situation in the country security wise,” the source said.

Our source said the Christian leader told the DSS D-G that the trouble in the North was too much and it would make no sense to inflame religious passion to escalate the security challenges already generating heated debates in the nation.

“So the delegation told the DSS boss that there was already an agreement with the IG to address his alleged hate speech. It was at that point that the Northern CAN chairman was said to have told the DSS boss: “The country already has a lot of challenges and we have manage the issue with tact,” stressing that he personally came to make sure peace prevailed.

According to the source, the emphasis was on the unity of the country which is “over and above the challenges confronting us a nation. And the DSS boss agreed with him and that was how the deal was brokered in so short a period.”

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