Evangelist (Mrs.) Helen Ukpabio, general overseer of the Palace Temple, headquarters of Liberty Gospel Church, Calabar and foremost actress and film producer, views the noise about child-witchcraft in Akwa Ibom State as a fraudulent attempt to fleece the region, in this interview with ISIOMA MADIKE. Excerpts:

What is your view on the raging issue of child-witchcraft in Akwa Ibom State?

There is one man in Eket that is creating this problem. He is Sam Ikpe-Itauma.

He kept contradicting himself. He will say he has 150 children today and tomorrow he will say they are 300. To different people he will say different things.

Is your church involved in all this?

There may be counterfeit churches but again that does not mean that that there are no genuine churches. Nobody labels anybody witches or wizards. In my own ministry I don’t label people witches, witches look for me. They come because they want to be delivered, adult, very old, young, married, lecturers, even doctors. So, why is the government trying to whip up sentiment by putting the children up in such a cruel manner? The truth is that the government is reacting to what these Europeans coming to feed on Africa instead of standing up and say no, you can’t use us to enrich yourselves. Look at the kind of people that they grant interview. One of the women sat before me to boast that she has spoken to the governor. I was disappointed because I didn’t know that Africans are still stupid up till now. I reminded her how their people shoot Nigerian children on the street, in the shop, in the supermarket, in schools. There is no week that they don’t shoot blacks. The black people that don’t have money to make a case are never heard.

But their NGOs are only trying to help keep these children in good shape…

People don’t understand what they are coming to do in Africa. Who tells them that they are the ones to solve our problems? If we have any problem that has to do with the children, why must they be the ones to give us the message and dictate to us? Have we gone to dictate to them in their country over drug addictions, promiscuity and what have you?

I want to use this forum to call on the Senate to completely abolish these fake NGOs because they are causing problems. They are creating problems that they will not be able to solve.

And the government is accusing the churches

The government cannot give the church a message. Supposing this thing was to be with the Muslims, can the government of Akwa Ibom State campaign that Muslims should not preach their message just because there are some people who are not genuine somewhere?

If you were to advise the governor on this issue, what would you be telling him?

I will be bold to tell him to investigate those churches that are not preaching the truth and stop them.

Who is a witch?

A witch is anybody that can practice any of these acts voodoo, sorcery and magic. It is broad. But in Africa you can practice it without knowing that it is a craft because it is a spirit. When this spirit enters a human spirit, the spirit reacts at night. It is not the human being that willingly wants it, but you see yourself doing that, and people come and say please ma, I attended witchcraft meeting. Now, these are not babies. Somebody would just say they have killed three of my children and they have collected the fourth one and I know that it is only you. People come from everywhere, even from the North.

Do you cast out witchcraft in your church?

Yes of course. That is my calling. But, not only witches, just people with every kind of demonic spirit. God has called me to do that. God anointed me specifically because of the works of witchcraft, how the craft penetrated the church and were killing pastors.