An infamous “witch finder” who has been barred from entering the UK on child protection grounds by the Home Office has threatened to sue several Human Rights organisations for half a billion pounds.
Helen Ukpabio, a Christian preacher from Nigeria who is the head of the controversial Liberty Foundation Gospel Ministries, has been known for “deliverance sessions” to free people, both children and adults from demonic possession.
The preacher, who refers to herself as ‘Lady Apostle’, has threatened to sue several human rights organisations, including the British Humanist Association (BHA) and the Witchcraft and Human Rights Information Network (WHRIN), accusing them of defamation, due to a difference in wording.
Campaigners have accused Mrs Ukapbio of writing “a child under two years of age that cries at night and deteriorates in health is an agent of Satan”, in her book Unveiling the Mysteries of Witchcraft.
However her solicitors have argued that her actual words were how to describe how these kind of children can be possessed by “vampire witchcraft spirits” with the signs of it being a child that “screams at night, cries, is always feverish, suddenly deteriorates in health, puts up an attitude of fear, and may not feed very well.”
The chief executive of BHA, Andrew Copson said: “The fact that she is threatening to launch a legal claim for half a billion pounds over an alleged distinction between being accused of exorcising “Satan” or “Vampires” tells you all you need to know about Ms Ukpabio.”
“Given her baseless identification of features of “possessed children” and her dangerous and irresponsible teachings we feel a strong moral duty to point this out and will not be deflected by libel suits from wealthy “witch finders”.
Earlier this year, the Home Office had revoked her visa after campaigners called that she be banned from the UK on child protection grounds, after she held a number of services during a visit to London in April. Last Thursday, London-based Graceland Solicitors, who are representing Mrs Ukpadio, accused the charity of causing “members of the public to regard our client as an evil woman”, the damage to her reputation causing “a huge loss of incomes to her churches.”
The letter sent described Mrs Ukpadio as “a Christian leader of international repute known and respected in many countries of the world.”
Nobel Prize-winning Nigerian author, Professor Wole Soyinka shared the concerns of British campaigners: “The activities of self-styled exorcists who stigmatize children as witches, vampires or whatever, and subject them to sadistic rites of demonic expulsion, are criminal, and constitute a deep embarrassment to the nation. That their activities are carried out under a religious banner expose them as heartless cynics, playing on the irrational fears of the gullible.”