A press release from Leo Igwe, who recently featured on the UK Channel 4 documentary Return to Africa’s Witch Children as a supporter of children who have been stigmatized as witches by evangelists in Nigeria:
Reason, Justice and Human Rights Will Prevail
A Press Statement For Immediate release
I have been informed that Helen Ukpabio of the Liberty Gospel Church in Nigeria has sued me to court. She joined in the suit-the Goverment of Akwa Ibom state, Inspector General of Police, Commissioner of Police of Cross River State, Sam Ituama, Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network, and Gary Foxcroft of Stepping Stones Nigeria. The case came up for hearing on November 4 2009. It was adjourned to November 17, but the court did not sit. Now the case will come up on December 17 for hearing.
Helen applied to the Federal High Court in Calabar for the enforcement of her fundamental rights. She claimed, among other things,that the conference on Witchcraft and Child Rights, held on July 29 in Calabar – which her members disrupted- and the arrest of her church members on the said date constituted an infringement on their rights to practice their christian religious belief relating to witchcraft. She asked the court to issue perpetual injunctions restraining me and others –
From interfering with their practice of christianity and their deliverance of people with witchcraft spirit.
From holding seminars or workshops denouncing the christian religious belief in witchcraft
From arresting her and her church members etc.
Helen asked the court to order that I, the Akwa Ibom state government, Sam Ituama, CRARN and Gary Foxcroft pay her 200,000,000.000.00(two hundred billion) naira(800. 000 dollars) as damages for unlawful and unconstitutional infringement on her rights to belief in God, Satan, witchcraft, Heaven and Hell fire and for unlawful and unconstitutional detention of her two church members.
Helen used a copy of the welcome address in my bag which her members made away with on July 29 and an article by Dr Olusegun Fakoya among others as exhibits.
…She should be ready to pay damages to thousands of children who have been tortured, traumatized, abused and abandoned as a result of her misguided ministry. Helen should be ready to pay for the damage she has done to many homes and households across Nigeria.
…So, whatever the mischief this vicious woman and her rag tag ministry are planning, I am convinced that at the end of the day, reason, justice and human rights will prevail.
Leo Igwe, Ibadan, Nigeria
Apologies for the couple of snips in there; unfortunately, free speech is curtailed in the UK (see here) and so I have been unable to include passages in which Leo gives his free opinion of Ukpabio’s character and motivations. You can use your imagination, though. Here’s the moment when Ukpabio’s supporters invaded his conference, in July:
Leo previously provided a guest post to this blog here.
Filed under: Uncategorized