The YouTuber and Suleman
Inibehe Effiong, lawyer to Israel Balogun, the YouTuber who criticized the alleged money miracle of the founder of the Omega Fire Ministries, Apostle Johnson Suleman, has replied a statement issued by the latter's counsel.
Effiong, in a statement obtained by SaharaReporters, debunked claims made by the clergy’s lawyer, noting that his client (Balogun) never called Suleman unprintable names.
He advised that attention should not be diverted from the onus of the matter which was, whether Suleman deceived people with a money-miracle scam, where he also claimed to command angels to deposit miracle alerts and miracle money in the accounts of worshippers.
Effiong also stated that the allegation of defamation levelled against Balogun had no bearing because even the police had admitted that the derogatory words were used by another person who also condemned Suleman's miracle money video.
His statement reads, “Our attention has been drawn to a misleading and provocative press statement issued by Samuel Amune, Esq., one of the counsel to Apostle Johnson Suleman, which has been circulated online and also published on all social media accounts of his client (Apostle Suleman) in response to the widely condemned arrest and detention of my client, Israel Goodnews Balogun.
”We would have simply ignored the said statement while still waiting for Apostle Suleman and his miracle money angels to testify in a court of law to validate the very ludicrous and mendacious claims that angels deposited money into the bank accounts of worshippers at Omega Fire Ministries programmes in Auchi, Edo State and Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
“But we are impelled to respond for the sake of innocent members of the public who may be misled by it.
“In their desperate attempt to justify the oppressive, illegal and arbitrary arrest and detention of my client by the Special Enquiry Bureau of the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID), Abuja, the counsel to Suleman claimed that his client instigated the police against my client because my client "went beyond the ambit of the law in ventilating his views."
“In the said statement, my client was accused of calling Apostle Suleman "unprintable names," certain words and expressions described by the counsel to Apostle Suleman as defamatory were attributed to my client. The said statement is in pari materia with the petition filed with the police.
“My client in his written statement to the police at FCIID had refuted and discountenanced most of the claims and allegations in the petition which have been repeated in the statement now in circulation. For the avoidance of doubt, majority of the said words and expressions were not used by my client.
“However, my client unapologetically stands by each and every word and expression used by him in his video. The police admitted that most of the words that the Apostle attributed to my client in his petition were used by another person, who like my client, also spoke out against the so-called angelic miracle alerts and miracle money.
“The Apostle deserves to know that in the law of defamation, it is trite that a person without character cannot be defamed. A person who claims that his character has been defamed is basically putting his character on trial.
“If the Apostle is convinced that he has character, and that his character has been defamed by my client, in the light of his miracle money claims and his other documented, ludicrous and discredited false claims (like his claim that his "spiritual son" entered a toilet in the airport in Germany and supernaturally appeared in an airport toilet in France), he should proceed to court and not dissipate further energy on press statements.”
The Youtuber’s lawyer said he advised his colleague to focus on the substance of this case and not indulge in diversionary arguments.
“Nigerians should ask the Apostle why one of his lawyers in Abuja went to the police cell where my client was detained in the dead of the night and in my absence on Wednesday, 11th August, 2021 after efforts to negotiate with me had failed?
“Why did the lawyer to Suleman attempt to discuss with my client in that ungodly hour of the day without my knowledge? Upon calling and beckoning on my client to come out, my client shouted at the said lawyer to leave.
“Since Apostle Johnson Suleman has the unparalleled grace and power of commanding angels to transfer miracle money from the Central Bank of Heaven to the accounts of human beings in commercial banks, I hereby restate my call for him help Nigeria out of her financial woes by commanding his cash dispensing angels to credit the Federation Account.
“Suleman may have succeeded in the past in intimidating, seducing and cajoling other persons he used the police to harass into apologizing to him. Sadly for him this time, he is dealing with people who know their rights and are determined to enforce them no matter whose ox is gored
“In my professional life as a lawyer, I have never fought oppression and oppressors on my knees. Apostle Suleman will not be an exception. My client has made his position known and we have no reason to retreat or surrender,” he said.