Nigerian Federal Judge Tosses Case Brought by Helen Ukpabio after She Fails to Show Up

A press release from Leo Igwe:


For immediate release February 4 2010

Helen Ukpbabio: Court Strikes out Case against Child Rights Campaigners

Today the Federal High Court in Calabar struck out the case brought against me and other child rights campaigners including the government of Akwa Ibom state by Helen Ukpabio and other members of the Liberty Gospel Church. In November Helen and some of her church members went to court seeking to enforce their rights to believe in God, Satan and witchcraft. They claimed that the seminars and conferences organised in Nigeria by the Nigerian Humanist Movement and other child rights groups to tackle witchcraft related abuses infringed on their rights to spread the gospel. They asked the court to order us to pay them two hundred billion naira(I.3 billion dollars) as damages for unlawful and unconstitutional infringement of their rights.

For the second, Helen and her lawyers were not in court. So the lawyer leading the defence team, Barrister Madaki asked the court to strike out the case due lack of diligent prosecution. And the court granted his request.

The striking out of this case is a welcome development. It is a victory for justice, human rights and the rule of law in Nigeria. This decision by the court is a vindication of the child rights campaigners and the great work they are doing rescuing and saving the lives of children abused and abandoned in the name of witchcraft in Nigeria. It is a clear evidence that Helen Ukpabio and her church members have no case.

They instituted this court action to stop their arrest and prosecution for the attack of July 29 in Calabar.

Nigerian Humanist Movement and its partner groups will continue to work and campaign to eradicate all forms of human rights abuses in the name of witchcraft.

Leo Igwe, Ibadan, Nigeria

I posted a previous press release on this ridiculous law-suit here, and on some of here other legal antics here; she has also promised to pursue the makers of the Channel 4 documentaries about her work, including the actress who narrated them. Her supporters have also sent me some imaginative  insults.

But Leo has a habit of annoying all the right people, and this is not the only legal battle he’s facing – a few weeks ago I noted that he and his family members are facing a murder charge because he spoke out on behalf of a girl who allegedly had been raped by a powerful man in his home village.