Guest post by Leo Igwe
UK authorities should take measures to stop controversial Nigerian pastor, David Oyedepo, from bringing his witch hunting ministry to Europe. Oyedepo with his Pentecostal church the Winners Chapel and his own fleet of private jets is reputedly the richest pastor in Nigeria. Oyedepo is scheduled to preach at the European Winners Convention to be held in London in August. There are numerous reasons why the UK authorities should not allow him to feature at this event. Here are just a few.
Not too long ago, Bishop Oyedepo assaulted a girl at one of his ministration events in Nigeria. He accused the girl of being a witch. But the girl denied this saying she was a ‘witch for Jesus’. And in reaction, Bishop Oyedepo slapped her. Oyedepo is not alone in the business of witch hunting and child abuse. Many branches of his Winners Chapel are involved in this violent campaign.
In August last year, a branch of Winners Chapel was one of the Pentecostal churches which the President of Cameroon, Paul Biya, ordered to have closed down due to ‘criminal practices’. According to a CNN report, a 9 year old girl collapsed and died during a prayer session at the Winners Chapel branch in Bamenda, Cameroon. The pastor accused the girl of being possessed by numerous demons and whilst he was ‘casting out’ the demons the girl fainted and died.
Pentecostal pastors like David Oyedepo are engaged in an effort to spread their ministry to Europe. They are re-exporting an Africanized Christianity with an emphasis on demon possession, exorcism and witch hunting. They are targeting African immigrant communities. Some of these churches already have established branches in many European countries. The harmful effects of their violent brand of Christianity are already being seen in many parts of Europe. European authorities must not allow the situation to worsen .
There is strong evidence of the links between cases of witchcraft related abuse of children and the activities of Pentecostal churches in Black communities in the UK. It is most distressing that Pentecostal churches have been allowed to spread this gospel of hate and incitement in Britain.
It has to stop
Preventing ‘witch slapping’ Bishop Oyedepo from preaching at the European Winners Convention is not, as some may claim, an act of racism. It is not an infringement on his right to freedom of religion but an essential step in combatting abuse in the name of religion and to helping bring an end to witch hunting in Africa and in the black communities world wide.
I urge the UK authorities to deny entry to ”child-assaulting” Bishop Oyedepo. He must not be granted an entry visa. He must not minister at the European Winners Convention in August. By denying him entry, the British government will be sending a very strong message to all African witch hunting pastors and churches, that they are not welcome in this country. It will help to shine a light on the dangers of these violent campaigns in Africa and within the European black communities.
UK authorities should closely monitor the activities of the branches of Winners Chapel and ensure that the criminal goings on at some of the branches in Africa are not tolerated in this country.
All non-governmental organisations and concerned individuals should register their support for the campaign against witch hunting and related atrocities by sending letters to the Home Office urging the Ministers not to allow Bishop Oyedepo into the country for this convention. If Muslim clerics who make hateful and inciteful speeches are not allowed entry into the UK then surely child abusing witch exorcizing pastors like David Oyedepo should also not be allowed in. Witch hunting must stop. Witch hunting pastors and churches must be stopped.