Guest post by Leo Igwe: Helen Ukpabio is at it again

Ukpabio: An Unrepentant Witch hunter Re-Launches Her Ministry

Leo Igwe

Nigeria’s notorious witch hunter ‘Lady Apostle’ Helen Ukpabio is at it again. She has just announced a witch finding and witch delivering session tagged “Ember Months Special 2013″. The program is taking place this month (November 11-17, 2013) at the headquarters of the Liberty Gospel Church in Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.

The theme of the event is ‘Witches on the Run”. Ukpabio is inviting people to come for “free deliverance”. She qualified the deliverance as free just to create the impression that she won’t be charging any fee, and she would not generate income from it!

The poster has an image of a cat at the background. A cat is locally believed to be a witch’s familiar in the region. The image of this familiar invokes fears and fantasies of impending danger or misfortune in the minds of the local population.

The poster further states “Is your family sold out to witches? Are you oppressed or tormented by the witches? Are you a victim/prey/slave/servant in witchcraft coven? Are you a witch or wizard? There is a special deliverance for the possessed and the oppressed.”

In a region where people often spiritualize the cause of their problems or attribute the misfortune they suffer to malevolent supernatural and occult forces, many can easily connect and link their problems and tragic experiences to these questions.

Ukpabio has literally re-launched her witch hunting ministry which is blamed for the menace of child witchcraft allegations and human rights abuses in the region.

For some time now her ministry has been criticized locally and internationally because of its role in fueling witchcraft accusations and related abuses in Nigeria and beyond.

But she appears unrepentant, and unfazed by the criticisms.

Ukpabio claims to be an ex-witch with a divine mandate and power to exorcize the spirit of witchcraft. She made witchcraft deliverance the primary mission of her Liberty Gospel Church. This time, her goal is to exploit popular fears of accidents and deaths, often entertained by Nigerians during the ‘ember months’, using witchcraft images and imaginaries.

At this event Ukpabio will instigate witchcraft insinuations and suspicion, and incite hatred and violence against children and other vulnerable members of the population often scapegoated as witches. She will spread the meme and sham of witchcraft deliverance. Deliverance may be free as advertised by Ukpabio, but the process can lead to death or permanent health damage of the person being delivered. More disturbing is that Ukpabio’s witch hunting mission is set to erode the gains made so far by state and non-state actors in combating witchcraft-related abuse in the region. Witch hunting will not end in Africa as long as witchcraft entrepreneurs like Ukpabio continue to act with impunity and the authorities refuse to bring them to justice.

In Cameroun, the government has ordered the closure of around 100 penticostal churches following the death of a 9-year old girl in a local church. The girl reportedly collapsed and died during a prayer session to cast out the ‘numerous demons’ that controlled the girl’s life.

I urge the government of Cross River to take action against the witch hunting activities of Helen Ukpabio. The Nigerian government should act now to stop this notorious woman from re-infecting the region with her virus of witch belief and deliverance.


  1. Pup says

    Are there any organisations that we can support that work against this sort of misinformation and child abuse?

  2. voidhawk says

    Pup: Stepping Stones Nigeria do wonderful work combating this hateful superstition.

    Ukpavio is one of the few people on the planet I’d actually celebrate the death of. She acauses untold harm with her ministry and the worst thing is that she KNOWS she’s causing infants to be tortured to death and keeps preaching anyway.

  3. ewanmacdonald says

    As if witch-hunting wasn’t horrible enough, turning it into a charismatic business is something else entirely. Horrible.

  4. Leo says

    ’ember’ months are September, October, November and Dec’ember’. Though we do not have Octoember, October is included as ember month in Nigeria

  5. SAT says

    Well arranged grammar with no jot of wisdom. Have you forgotten how you failed despite the scandals and blackmail against the arrow head and the church of God? You have absolutely no proofs to buttress your claims. I assure you of this one thing: Despite your efforts to obstruct God’s work, witches will be on the run. On this note, I invite you for screening!

  6. SAT says

    Can’t you get a job to keep yourself busy than spread these scandalous claims? Have you witnessed any killling sessions in Liberty Gospel Church? Believe this or not, witches do exist and Lady Apostle Helen Ukpabio is on a God-given mission to deliver exercising her gift of discernment of spirits. Hope you understand what I mean!

  7. DaveL says

    No, SAT, witches do not exist. Neither are there gods, or spirits. You go on about proof and scandalous claims – let the witch hunters give theirs first.

  8. fiVers9 says

    spiritual things cannot be subjected to the laws of the flesh, or scientific explanations if you prefer. This is why you will always get it wrong on this one. Witches exist and don’t operate on your scientific laws. They are spiritually discerned. Go get a life and stop killing yourself over what you have no idea of.

  9. fiVers9 says

    Even muslims believe in witchcraft and those practising such are severely punished. In all fairness, I wish you would take this your campaign to the muslims and lets see how kindly they would take it with you. Otherwise just shut up and let the woman pray for those who willing come to her for prayers.

  10. Sean Mulloy says

    This woman should be treated as a murderer. It is so disgusting to hear people defend her sorry fucking ass. She is fostering, insane, hysterical, extremely violent world views. Anyone defending witch hunters in Africa should check into a hospital.


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