The Liberty Gospel Church's leader, Helen Ukpabio, has taken exception to the humanist campaign – she was behind the attack on the conference in July, and we learn this week from Igwe that she is now suing him for supposedly violating her Christians rights by campaigning against her persecution of "witches". In a press release distributed to members of the International Humanist and Ethical Union this week, Igwe explained:
"Helen applied to the Federal High Court in Calabar for the enforcement of her fundamental rights. She claimed, among other things,that the conference on Witchcraft and Child Rights, held on July 29 in Calabar – which her members disrupted – and the arrest of her church members on the said date constituted an infringement on their rights to practice their christian religious belief relating to witchcraft. She asked the court to issue perpetual injunctions restraining me and others -
From interfering with their practice of christianity and their deliverance of people with witchcraft spirit.
From holding seminars or workshops denouncing the christian religious belief in witchcraft
From arresting her and her church members etc.
Helen asked the court to order that I, the Akwa Ibom state government, Sam Ituama, CRARN [Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network] and Gary Foxcroft [of charity Stepping Stones Nigeria] pay her 200 billion naira (800,000 US Dollars) as damages for unlawful and unconstitutional infringement on her rights to belief in God, Satan, witchcraft, Heaven and Hell fire and for unlawful and unconstitutional detention of her two church members."
"It is obvious that Helen Ukpabio is a crook. She has transformed her so called Liberty Gospel Church into a criminal gang. Helen and her church members want evade arrest and prosecution by all means. Otherwise how could one explain the reason behind these frivolous allegations and trumped-up charges. Particularly how does one explain why this so called woman of God has gone to court asking that I pay her damages (who should actually pay each other damages?), after her church members under her directive, disrupted our conference, beat me up, stole my bag and made away with other personal belongings. Helen Ukpabio should be ready to face justice and answer for her crimes. She should be ready to pay damages to thousands of children who have been tortured, traumatized, abused and abandoned as a result of her misguided ministry. Helen should be ready to pay for the damage she has done to many homes and households across Nigeria through her witchcraft schemes and other fraudulent activities. She should be ready to pay compensation to all care givers and child rights advocates who have been attacked, harrassed and robbed by her gangs and goons.
So, whatever the mischief this vicious woman and her rag tag ministry are planning, I am convinced that at the end of the day, reason, justice and human rights will prevail."