At least six persons were assassinated on Friday at Warrake in Edo when gunmen attacked a motorcade of the General Overseer of Omega Fire Ministries, Apostle Johnson Suleiman.
The cleric was on his way to Auchi in Edo after he returned from a missionary trip to Tanzania when the gunmen attacked his motorcade.
Police spokesman in Edo, Chidi Nwabuzor confirmed the attack and killings.
“The attack on Johnson Suleman is true. Suleman was attacked by hoodlums at about 5 p.m.
“As we speak, two of his drivers were murdered, three policemen were killed, one female house-help was killed and one person is missing.
“Upon an alarm raised, police moved to the scene, gunned down one of hoodlums and recovered one of the vehicles they used.
“Currently, Apostle Suleman is safe and sound,” Mr Nwabuzor, an assistant superintendent of police, said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the attack took place on Warrake-Auchi, Road in Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo.
An eyewitness said the gunmen in a Toyota Avalon car and a Toyota Sienna wagon blocked all other vehicles on the highway, manoeuvred their way to Suleman’s motorcade and opened fire on his vehicles.
“His wife and children were in the motorcade and in the same vehicle as Apostle Suleiman. His car that was at the head of the motorcade escaped, however,” he said.
Legal Adviser to the Ministry, Sam Amune, described the attack as a case of “attempted assassination”.
“I think it was a case of attempted assassination because the assailants who were in the Avalon and Sienna vehicles stopped other vehicles to reach Apostle Suleman’s motorcade but they did not take anybody.
“People just stopped and watched as the drama unfolded.
“Apostle just ended a programme in Tanzania on Wednesday and flew to Lagos and then to Benin where his family joined him.
“His children normally ride in a separate vehicle, but this time they rode with their father while the domestic staff rode in the children’s vehicle.
“It is very unfortunate to lose lives this way,” Mr Amune said.