Benson Otobo also said the controversy between his daughter and Mr. Suleman came to him as “a huge shock,” adding that he knew nothing about the entire scenario.
Mr. Otobo spoke at a joint telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES and other journalists in Abuja facilitated by Mr. Suleman. He said he was speaking from Warri, Delta State.
Mr. Otobo said there was no formal introduction of the cleric to him by his daughter.
“Not at all; Suleman does not even know where I live”, he said.
Mr. Otobo also gave an indication that all was not well between him and his daughter.
“I don’t know how this happened, I was shocked to hear the news. Right now as I speak, we are at loggerheads because I saw her picture on the internet via whatsapp, and the way she was dressed, and I saw her tattoos and all that; I cautioned her. Then two whatsap messages that she sent to me, she was telling me all sorts of things, she said I am not her father anymore.
“So for a girl telling her father things like that, then I don’t know how you can expect me to be involved in something that concerns her.”
Mr. Otobo also said he had been separated from his daughter’s mother for almost 30 years.
“I have divorced her mother almost 30 years now. She grew up with the mother; she was very small when I divorced her mother. What happened is a case of like mother like daughter”, said Mr. Otobo.
When PREMIUM TIMES sought further clarification from Ms. Otobo, she said her earlier statement through her lawyer, Festus Keyamo, that Mr. Suleman took drinks to her family to conduct a formal introduction was inaccurate.
Asked to give the details of the said introduction, Ms. Otobo said it happened at the pastor’s office in the church’s premises at Auchi, Edo state.
“Not at our house; he invited me and my mother to Auchi, because he does all night every last Friday of the month at Auchi. We went there, me my mother, my siblings. After the service, nobody sees him, but we went there to see him and he gave us N50, 000. So that made me think everything was real.
She also corroborated her father’s explanation regarding the divorce.
“My father and mother are divorced. I actually grew up knowing that they were separated,” she said.
She however said her father was aware of her ‘relationship’ with the cleric and that he had prayed for her when she told him about Mr. Suleman’s alleged blackmail.
Ms. Otobo also said her father was angry that the media published information about her personal life alleging that he had taken money from the pastor.
The woman had alleged that Mr. Suleman promised her marriage, but abandoned her, after she got pregnant.
The pastor has since denied the allegation, adding that he had never met with Ms. Otobo.
Meanwhile, Omega Fire Ministries has denied that the General Overseer of the church, Apostle Johnson Suleman, has a hand in the arrest and detention of one Miss Stephanie Otobo by the police last Friday, March 3, 2017.
A statement signed by Phrank Shaibu, Communications Manager to Apostle Suleman, also flatly denied that there was a so called amorous relationship between the said Miss Otobo and the General Overseer, including a promise to marry her.
Instead, the church stated that the lady was arrested by operatives acting on a tip off that the lady had repeatedly tried to blackmail the fiery preacher, including demanding N500 million from him, failing which she threatened to expose a purported amorous relationship between her and the Senior Pastor.
The statement of Omega Fire Ministries was in reaction to two letters written by Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo demanding the same N500 million on behalf of the said lady and also accusing Apostle Suleiman of procuring policemen to intimidate and detain his client unlawfully, having earlier promised to marry her.
But Phrank Shaibu said the lawyer was misled into believing that there was an amorous relationship between Apostle Suleman and the said Miss Otobo, pointing out that the lady was caught up by her own machinations as she was arrested while trying to withdraw money paid into her account by the Church in a sting operation coordinated by the police.
“Unknown to Keyamo, the police was alerted following several attempts by the said lady to blackmail Apostle Suleiman. The police also recorded her conversations making the frivolous demand. The highpoint of the drama was her attempt to withdraw money paid into her account at the instance of the police. The lawyer should know that his client was arrested by the police with abundance of evidence confirming that she is indeed a serial blackmailer”, he said.
The Communications Manager further debunked Keyamo’s claim of an amorous relationship, a promise to marry and that the Senior Pastor had actually made the initial move towards marriage by seeing her parents, wondering how such a transaction could have taken place without any iota of evidence.
He said: “Let me place it on record that the lady in question is a self-confessed stripper in a nite club in Canada, who like thousands of people that seek help from Apostle Johnson Suleman, called to pretentiously convey her intentions to embrace Christ and also needed financial help to keep body and soul as she no longer had a means of livelihood after quitting as a stripper.
“Does Keyamo or his serial blackmailing client have pictures of the visit by Apostle Suleiman or his representatives to her parents? In any case, how could such a relationship have existed when Apostle and the said lady have never met physically? How could he have made a promise of a house and a lifestyle comparable to what she has in Canada when he has never been to her house or seen her physically as to have an idea of her living standards?”
Shaibu contented that the Lagos lawyer must have been misled or excited by the prospects of getting a whopping N500 million, both reasons for which two letters were written and sent to Apostle Suleiman wondering how Keyamo could have fallen for such a gimmick in the first place.
According to him, “If Keyamo was not misled or excited by the prospects of a jackpot of N500 million and or an opportunity to save his already dwindling career in law practice from total caput by latching on the popularity of Apostle Suleman vide this tendentiously devilish plot and skewed romantic fantasy, then we may as well demand an evaluation of his mental state along with his client who was obviously on the verge of delusion before she was arrested. It’s either one of the options stated above or he is trying to engage in a proxy war on behalf of some unknown agents who had become irritated by Apostle’s stand on national issues. His inference to the latter incident in Keyamo’s letter to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) confirms this benign thought,” he declared.
The spokesman of the church advised Keyamo to drop the proxy war and focus instead on defending his client in court adding that all attempts to impugn the integrity of the fiery preacher or the Omega Fire Ministries would fall like a pack of cards.
“We are not surprised that this serial blackmailer decided to join forces with a serial divorcee, who has had five children from four failed marriages to make this phantom claim. But we dare to ask; Is a serial blackmailer and or a serial divorcee capable of understanding the sanctity of the institution called marriage? The nature of their mental torpidity is understandable and we invite more recondite and decent persons to read in between the lines and separate the wheat from the chaff.
“In this well coordinated plot to pull down Apostle Suleman at all costs, the lines of Reuben Abati will suffice; ‘lies have become standard stuff, mischief a major commodity, and indecency a character flaw’.