The British Home Secretary Theresa May is being urged to step in to prevent a Nigerian “witch hunter” returning to the UK after she flew in to preach to congregations in London.
“Lady Apostle” Helen Ukpabio, founder of the controversial Liberty Foundation Gospel Ministries, is believed to still be in the capital after addressing three gatherings last week.
The born-again Christian Pentecostal preacher claims to have
been betrothed to Satan as a teenager before being rescued from a cult at the age of 17. She now specialises in liberating captives in “deliverance sessions” that critics claim are little more than crude exorcisms.
Amongst her advice to parents is the suggestion: “If a child under
the age of two screams in the night, cries and is always feverish
with deteriorating health, he or she is a servant of Satan.”
Leo Igwe, a rights campaigner who spoke to Doubful News about
Ukpabio’s controversial visits said: “Recently there has been a
rising number of witchcraft related abuses in African communities in the UK. Some families have reportedly tortured to death children believed to be witches or wizards. Abuses related to witchcraft beliefs are often linked to the preaching and activities of witch mongering pastors like Helen Ukpabio.
“The UK government has expressed commitment to stamping out
these abuses. But the government needs to translate this
commitment into action. Abuses related to witchcraft cannot stop if the authorities continue to allow African ‘evangelical
witchdoctors’ into the UK to recharge the witchcraft narratives in black communities.
“Back in 2012, Ukpabio was scheduled to come to the U.S. An
international campaign against her ideas about child witches
resulted in US authorities denying her visa”.
Igwe thinks that Ukpabio and her collaborators in the UK must
have waited till the last minute before announcing their event, and may have avoided disclosing full information and details of her visit in order to not have a repeat of the U.S. visit.
The notorious witch hunter, ‘Lady Apostle’ Helen Ukpabio took her campaign to London last week. The theme of the event was
”Season for Disconnection from All Spiritual Attack”. Ukpabio
enjoined all who were ‘under witchcraft attack, ancestral spirit
attack, mermaid spirit attack’ to come and be spiritually
disconnected. The program was slated to take place at The Albany Douglas Way, Deptford, London
But those in charge of the venue had to cancel the booking made
by Ukpabio’s Liberty Gospel Church when they realized the true
nature of meeting. They posted a short announcement cancelling
the booking on their web site.
This is an interesting case of freedom of religious practices. The
Witchcraft and Human Rights Information Network (WHRIN), the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales and the
International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) noted that the
Government was quick to ban entry to the UK for Islamic preachers whose presence is considered as harmful to the public good, but there was not a similar response for a Christian pastor.
Bob Churchill, of the IHEU, said: “It is important that the UK
authorities send a message to the world that branding children, or anyone, as a witch is beyond the pale.”
Gary Foxcroft, of the WHRIN, who has worked extensively in
documenting examples of witchcraft abuse, said Ms Ukpabio was
one of a number of preachers who regularly travelled to the UK.
“The fundamental problem is that churches need to be regulated.
Anyone can set up a church tomorrow in their own garden shed
with no commitment to child protection or making their accounts transparent or any theological training. Indeed. So this is more than a matter of religious freedom, it’s a matter of children’s safety”.