Apostle Suleman ‘under instruction not to grant interview’
Mixed reactions trail controversial alleged statement
The recent release of the final report of staff screening exercise embarked upon by the Kogi State government almost a year ago, has been generating discordant tunes amongst civil servants, labour unions and other stakeholders affected negatively. Governor Yahaya Bello had on February 22, 2016 inaugurated a staff screening and verification committee headed by retired General Paul Okuntimo, with the task of screening out ‘ghost workers’ from the state’s workforce.
But complaints of highhandedness and other sundry allegations against Gen. Okuntimo soon followed, so the governor replaced him with Dr. Jerry Agbaje. The committee completed its field work and submitted its report to the state government on June 22, 2016, but the report was said to have been “marred by substantial fraud and high level irregularities” according to a Back-Up Committee set up by government.
The governor disbanded the main committee and upgraded the Back-Up Committee led by the State’s Auditor General, Alhaji Yakubu Okala, to assume responsibilities for another round of screening. The committee submitted its report on July 26, 2016 with its findings reportedly indicating that out of the 88,973 people it screened at the state and local government levels, 18, 211 were classified as ghost workers and unintended beneficiaries of payments from government coffers.
The committee in its report indicated that the state government would make a monthly saving of N1.3 billion after reportedly weeding out till further notice. Thanks for the thought.”
sought to speak with members of his family as well, but tight security around them prevented it.
Residents of Auchi presented a mixed-bag of opinion on Suleman and the statement credited to him: Abu Ibrahim, an Okada rider, said Auchi and environs are not known for religious crisis and violence, but with Suleman’s comment, that could change. “He is a religious leader whose inciting comment can lead to breach of peace, as his followers believe in his words. Security agents should not overlook it.”
On his part, Jude Elvis believes that Apostle Suleman was only defending Christians, as “Government has abandoned them to their fate”. He added: “They’ve been killing Christians in Southern Kaduna and government has done nothing. Apostle Suleman spoke his mind and attempting to arrest him based on that is wrong and might cause problems.”
Another resident who gave his name as John, however said he feels religious leaders should be mindful of their utterances. “Christianity is a religion of peace and Auchi people are peaceful people, and that must be sustained. And for that to be sustained, the activities of Fulani herdsmen, especially the troublesome ones, must be checked by security agencies,” he said.
According to John, two wrongs do not make a right. He added that the DSS should have invited Suleman for questioning.
Apostle Suleman’s church
Kogi workers in Government House, Lokoja, protesting problems arising from the screening.