Helen Ukpabio

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Helen Ukpabio
Born Imo State, Nigeria
Occupation Evangelical Christian pastor
Website
http://libertyfoundationgospelministries.org/

Helen Ukpabio is the founder and head of African Evangelical franchise Liberty Foundation Gospel Ministries based in Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria. She was born in the village of Mbente, Imo State, Nigeria and is married to Dr. Elijah Ukpabio. She has three children.[1]

During her early life she was educated at St. George's Catholic School in Falomo, Jinadu Anglican School in Obalende and the Methodist Girls' School in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, all in south-eastern Nigeria.[2]

In 1992, Ukpabio founded Liberty Foundation Gospel Ministries with the aim of spreading her often literal interpretations of the Bible to the people of West Africa.[3] The belief most often associated with Ukpabio and her organisation is a claim that Satan has the ability to manifest himself in the bodies of children by demonic possession and make them become his servants in the form of 'witches' or 'wizards'.

Exploiting superstitious beliefs, particularly those related to spiritual or demonic possession or witchcraft,[4] Helen Ukpabio's organisation has grown exponentionally throughout Nigeria and West Africa since its foundation. There are now major Liberty Gospel Churches in Cameroon, Ghana and South Africa as well as Nigeria.

Controversial views[edit]

Ukpabio has published her views in several books. An example is 'Unveiling The Mysteries of Witchcraft', in which she states that:

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.[1]

A fact not mentioned in the book is that these symptoms are common in young children, especially in areas like Nigeria with poor health and high levels of malaria.[5][original research?]

She also produces a number of films to spread the view that children can become possessed by evil spirits through her film production company, Liberty Films, part of the Liberty Foundation Gospel Ministries franchise. The most famous of these is End of The Wicked in which child actors are shown to eat human flesh and murder their parents.[6]

Media references[edit]

In 2007 an Observer newspaper article claimed Ukpabio and other evangelical pastors were encouraging an upsurge in the numbers of children being accused of witchcraft and being abused and stigmatised by parents and communities as a result.[7] In 2008, the TV news documentary Dispatches Saving Africa's Witch Children by UK broadcaster Channel 4 stated the views that she expresses have led to a massive upsurge in children stigmatised and abandoned by their families in West Africa, particularly in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.[8] Both reports followed the activities of two charities, CRARN and Stepping Stones Nigeria, which aimed to look after the children who have been rejected by their parents for displaying what they believed to be signs of witchcraft,[9] assertions which have also been made by the Associated Press. The Telegraph Thursday 14 April 2011.[10] The accusation and her defense against them have been reported in The New York Times.[11] A 2009 conference in Nigeria that was critical of her organization was reportedly violently disrupted by members of her organization.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "This Christian preacher should not have been allowed to bring her 'witch hunt' into this country | From the Observer | Observer.co.uk". theguardian.com. Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  2. ^ "http://helen-ukpabio.com/". helen-ukpabio.com. Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  3. ^ "Call to ban ‘witch hunter’ Helen Ukpabio who poses risk to children - UK Politics - UK - The Independent". independent.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  4. ^ International Humanist and Ethical Union (2007-11-23). "Superstition and Witchcraft in Africa | International Humanist and Ethical Union". Iheu.org. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  5. ^ "Poor healthcare system: Nigeria's moral indifference". Kwenu.com. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  6. ^ "End of the Wicked (Video 1999)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  7. ^ Tracy McVeigh in Esit Eket. "Children are targets of Nigerian witch hunt | World news | The Observer". Guardian. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  8. ^ "Homepage - Channel 4 News". Channel4.com. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ Harrison, David (2008-11-08). "'Child-witches' of Nigeria seek refuge". Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  11. ^ Mark Oppenheimer (May 21, 2010). "On a Visit to the U.S., a Nigerian Witch-Hunter Explains Herself". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-11-25. (subscription required)
  12. ^ "CFI Representative Assaulted by Christians at Children’s Rights Conference". Center for Inquiry. 2009-08-05. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 

External links[edit]