“The Nigerian witchfinder who featured so prominently in the documentary on witch children has spoken about the situation and she comes out of her corner fighting. It is a long (and self-serving) interview but here are some highlights:
Helen Ukpabio is the founder of Liberty Gospel Church. She is noted for her preaching which focuses on delivering people from witchcraft, but ever since the documentary on how children branded witches by pastors in Akwa Ibom are maltreated, the evangelist has been at the centre of the storm following allegation that her movies encourage the stigmatisation of witches.
Ukpabio: End of the Wicked came out in 1999. It is surprising that nine years after, somebody is having a problem with a film that has delivered a lot of families. The story line of End of the Wicked has nothing to do with children. The film simply says if a child is greedy – the type that says give me this, give me that, give me puff-puff, akara or sweet in school, he or she could be easily contaminated with witchcraft. So, saying that the film branded children witches, I didn’t see the people that the film branded witches. Rather, we saw children who were greedy and were contaminated by other children who were witches in the school. That is what the film did. It is worrisome that people can be carried away just because of one wizard. Itauma is a wizard and is trying to preserve the posterity of witches, such that in the near future, Akwa Ibom will become useless.
So, if he says that the film branded children witches, I don’t know about that. Is it people that the film branded witches that are in his orphanage that has suddenly turned into home for witchcraft children? He has been running that thing as orphanage but suddenly, because the United Kingdom government voted so much money to fight child abuse over the problem that the Congolese government had with children, he decided to tap into it.”
(Related: Stepping Stones Nigeria)