“Two things I fear in my life and I hold them so much. I live for them. One is my marriage, two my reputation. I’m very careful what I do, where I go because of these things. And these things they came after. There is nothing else…”,Apostle Johnson Suleiman, the founder of the Omega Fire Ministries, based in Auchi, Edo State, uttered those words at a recent international ministers conference organised by the church. The theme of the conference was “Minister Without Blemish.” With that, the apostle once again stressed his innocence over the allegation of adultery levelled against him by one Stephanie Otobo, a Nigerian musician, based in Canada. She had alleged that the pastor impregnated and abandoned her after promising to marry her. She further alleged that there was a formal introduction at her parents’ house preparatory to their marriage before he decided to dump her.
Suleiman however believes the lady is being used by politicians to smear his name because of his stand against the killing of Christians in the north. “My offence is why are they killing Christians and the truth is this: I’ve just started talking. Prepare more, prepare more, prepare more. All is well, no shaking,” he declared, then added that, like every pastor, he understands that he is not fighting a physical battle. “Every minister must go through this phase. The brethren will fight you, your reputation will be targeted; the government will come after you. I have passed through the three, ” he pointed out. Times like this test the faith of those involved as well as people close to them but Apostle Suleiman has the support of his wife, Lizzy. Corroborating her husband, Lizzy said Otobo will fail in her attempt to destroy the reputation of her husband. She said in her 19-year marriage to Suleiman, ” we have never had issue over a woman or extramarital affairs. “
Osa Director, legal adviser to Apostle Suleiman, in a press statement, described the allegations against the pastor as vexatious, malicious and a wicked concoction from the pit of hell. Director noted that although sometimes in 2015, after a crusade in Canada, ” Suleiman received a call from a person who introduced herself as Stephanie, and claimed to have been blessed by the spiritual ministration of the clergyman, investigation by his client revealed that Stephanie was a night club stripper.” Based on that, “our client insisted that she must change her ways, if indeed she wants to receive Christ. But she later complained of no other means of survival and pleaded for assistance to open an Africa Kitchen food Store. Our client being a habitual and chronic philanthropist, with a heart for the poor and the underprivileged promised to assist, and he did. After almost a year she later complained of being broke and business was not looking well and asked for financial assistance from our client, which he obliged. Those were the only two occasions our clients rendered financial help to her, and withdrew after some unsavoury disclosures by Stephanie and her reluctance to truly mend her ways, and embrace Christ,” explained Director.
He added that “it was strange and gut wrenching to hear several years after from Stephanie, who in collaboration with a gang of five, which include her Canadian based boyfriend, Wisdom and a top ranking police officer based in Lagos State approach our client and demanding a ransom payment of N500 million,” failing which they will cook up a story about Otobo and the preacher with the view of ridiculing his “worth and integrity in the public eye.”
The lawyer further revealed that Stephanie’s father, Reverend Benson Otobo has disputed his daughter’s claims. “He described his daughter as ‘wayward and desperate to make money…and thoroughly denied any marriage introduction ceremony, saying that Apostle Suleiman never came to his house, or family home to introduce himself as suitor to his daughter .He emphatically disassociated himself from whatever blackmailing scheme the daughter is engaged in,'” Director said in the statement.
On Monday, March 6, while addressing journalists in Abuja, Stephanie’s father expressed shock that her daughter with whom he had not been on good terms for sometime, could go all the way in an attempt to rubbish the reputation of the man of God. Asked about the formal proposal to marry her daughter, Reverend Otobo said, “Not at all, Apostle Suleiman does not even know where I live.”
Despite the denial, Otobo has repeatedly, through her lawyer, Festus Keyamo, insisted that Suleiman is the liar, that she has photos to prove her claim. She had since released few photographs of herself and Suleiman together, but Lizzy and her husband have denounced the photos claiming there are fabricated to deceive the public. In the midst of all these, another lady, who identified herself as Queen Esther, also claimed to be a former lover of apostle Suleiman. She revealed that she began a relationship with Suleiman in 2013 before a “catastrophic break-up” a year later.
Since the scandal broke, opinions have been divided on the matter. While some insist Suleiman, like he himself alleged, is being targeted by some powerful Nigerians for his recent utterances on Southern Kaduna, which drew attention to the failure of the Nigerian government, others say he is probably paying the price for his past action. Perhaps, Nigerians will get to know someday who is telling the truth.
At the moment, apostle Suleiman, through his lawyer, has demanded a sum of N1 billion compensation as damages as well as apology from the publisher of Sahara Reporters, an online publication that first broke the story as well as financial compensation and apology from Keyamo, head of Keyamo Chambers and lawyer to Stephanie.