BREAKING: Police release Podcaster detained for criticising popular Nigerian pastor

The police have released a Youtuber, Israel Balogun, who was arrested on Wednesday for criticising the Overseer of the Omega Fire Ministry (OFM), Johnson Suleman.

Israel Balogun was detained by the police in Abuja after he posted a video clip of Mr Suleman on YouTube, praying for the audience to receive mysterious money alerts.

The youtuber said he got an invitation from the Special Enquiry Bureau, Abuja, ordering him to come to FCIID.

Mr Balogun’s lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, confirmed on Thursday that his client was released after meeting the bail conditions. Gistmeblog247 can report.

“Mr Balogun was released about an hour and thirty minutes ago after we had processed his bail and I was able to get the sureties to bail him out,” Mr Effiong said.

“Because yesterday we couldn’t get the letter of introduction from one of the sureties so we had to look for another one with all the documents after which he was granted bail.”

Mr Balogun was detained by the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID), Abuja after posting a video clip of Mr Suleman on YouTube, praying for the audience to receive mysterious money alerts.

Earlier, Punch newspaper has also reported that the video highlights the pastor’s ministration of ‘money miracle’ in Atlanta, USA, where the members of the congregation confirmed receiving alerts into their respective bank account.

Stiff bail conditions

Mr Effiong accused the police of undue interrogation and bail conditions before the release of his client.

“The formal interrogation was for about four hours, including the time they used in taking his statements. Part of his bail conditions was to provide two sureties with landed property and certificate of ownership in Abuja, and a Level 14 civil servant with either a letter of last employment or letter of introduction.

“We have somebody with CofO, and presented a Level 13 civil servant, which they accepted. But they insisted that the person should bring a letter of introduction, whereas the person has a letter of last promotion. Even though we said we will bring the originals tomorrow, they rejected it and put Balogun in the cell.

“The conditions are difficult and unnecessary given the nature of offence. There is no reason why the police should get involved as he (Suleman) should have gone to court to file legal action if he felt he had been defamed,” Mr Effiong said.

The lawyer explained that prior to his arrest, Mr Balogun had received a letter from Mr Suleman’s lawyer requesting him to remove the content from Youtube and tender an apology within seven days.

He said the first letter was issued to Mr Balogun on August 2, six days after the video clip was uploaded on the social media platform.

But the police said the bail terms were standard.

Ordeal

Speaking of his ordeal, Mr Balogun said he was first threatened by one Obi-West who identified himself as the popular pastor’s “eye.”

“He said he is the eye of Apostle Suleman on Social media and said I should expect to hear from them. He said I will be missing and he will make sure I get punished by officers from the Nigerian Police Force Headquarters.

“He said killing me is nothing to them. I recorded the whole conversation and used it in recording another video where I called people to rescue me because my life was in danger.

“I was still consulting with my lawyer when somebody called to notify me that some guys from Abuja were in Lagos to pick me up in Abuja. My wife, daughter and I immediately abandoned our home and went into hiding,” the Punch newspaper quoted the Youtuber as saying.

The podcaster said he got an invitation from the Special Enquiry Bureau, Abuja, ordering him to come to FCIID.

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