The intransigence of Helen Ukpabio seems to have no bounds and I feel compelled to make this submission to further expose the hypocrisy of this woman of little mind. Rather than show repentance with the level of international odium and disgust at her retrogressive brand of Christianity, this repugnant character seems hell bent on forcing her obnoxious and destructive fantasy on Nigerians and the world at large, albeit at all costs. The deliberately planted article titled: One Big Scam by Babajide Kolade-Otitoju in The News magazine of March 1, 2010 left a bad taste in the mouth. The Senior Editor of The News magazine insisted that what he wrote was the product of “investigative” journalism; hence I decided to embark on one of my own. My findings are radically different from that expounded by Mr Kolade-Otitoju. My investigation further points to the alarming situation of the influence of money on our modern day journalism. Nigeria, indeed, faces a serious problem in this area.
My findings indicated that Kolade-Otitoju colluded with Victor Ukutt (Helen Ukpabio’s lawyer) in a high wired project deliberately aimed at tarnishing the image of those perceived as antagonistic to Helen Ukpabio. Helen had become extremely uncomfortable with the heavy criticism, both local and international, of her brand of business (sorry, religion) and has therefore created a limitless purse for Victor to fight her battle. Victor had found it extremely difficult to elicit sympathy for Helen’s cause both locally and internationally until he had a break through when he was introduced to Babjide Kolade-Otitoju. The product of that liaison is the deliberate falsehood that Kolade-Otitoju published. It is sad that in this age and time, a journalist, more so, a senior one with a magazine of repute, can descend so low to publish such a slanted and massively jaundiced report.
Investigation has shown that what Kolade-Otitoju purported to be a product of an extensive investigation was nothing more than a complete regurgitation of the litigation evidence of Victor Ukutt (Helen Ukpabio’s lawyer, for whom the epithet “Lagos Lawyer” is too much of a priviledge). This reprehensible journalist deliberately set out to misinform Nigerians and the world at large. The motive for this shameless act is obviously not farfetched. It is to gain an undeserved lucre, in the “brown envelope” typical of unscrupulous Nigerian journalists. Kolade-Otitoju did absolutely no investigation, he only added more lies to those provided by Victor Ukutt in their jinxed efforts to launder the battered image of a heartless 21st century business woman called evangelist. The likes of Babajide Kolade-Otitoju make a mockery of an otherwise respected media like The News magazine. Corrupt journalists constitute a formidable setback in our struggle for social liberation and enthronement of the rights of every Nigerian, children inclusive. The type of yellow journalism demonstrated by Kolade-Otitoju is only of the antisocial dimension. This misguided journalist needs to be called to order.
It is expedient to start by re-emphasising that everything contained in Kolade-Otitoju’s article is just a reproduction of the submission of Victor Ukutt to a Nigerian law court in the case instituted by Helen Ukpabio against Gary Foxcroft, Sam Itauma, Leo Igwe and the Governor of Akwa Ibom state. This is a case that is yet to be decided by the law court and where all parties had been warned to exercise restraint and maintain silence and caution, especially with reference to the submissions of the various counsels. The integrity of Victor Ukutt, which has been shattered several times by his propensity to encourage deliberate mischief and controversies, and his oft-repeated penchant for garrulous diction not compatible with standard format of Queen’s English, is further dented by this lack of respect for the law court. Searching for the motive behind Victor’s lack of disregard for the tenets of his profession should not require a great amount of stimulation of the white matter. It is obvious that Victor Ukutt has seen a well oiled machine in Helen and is determined to milk her dry, even if it means leading her to perdition.
In acting out a well orchestrated script, Kolade- Otitoju sought to launder the image of Helen Ukpabio by various assertions. The content of the said article is as summarised below:
1. Helen Ukpabio is being unjustly maligned. She has never labelled any child a witch. After all, her much maligned film, “End of the Wicked”, passed the censorship requirements in Nigeria. The version of the film being shown was doctored.
2. Bishop Sunday Williams is now laying the blame for his woes and travails on the doorstep of Sam Ikpe-Itauma of the Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN), as it was Sam who urged the Bishop to charge fees in thousands of naira for his nefarious activities.
3. Kolade-Otitoju also attempted to cast odium on the registration of CRARN and Stepping Stone Nigeria (SSN) of Gary Foxcroft.
4. The film, Saving Africa’s Witch Children was a business arrangement between Gary Foxcroft and the Red Rebel Films of Mag Gavan, Tracy McVeigh and Joost van der Valk which in turn sold the franchise to UK-based Channel 4.
5. Irregularities and corrupt practices in the mode of money received and transferred between SSN and CRARN and also in the manner of the management of funds by either party. Reference was made to an alleged suspicious withdrawal of a huge sum of money by Sam Itauma on 6th July 2009, following a botched assassination attempt (on him) arranged by Helen Ukpabio in collusion with some dubious police officers.
6. The article, in its dying paragraphs, made reference to a foolish statement credited to Victor Ukutt (really typical of him) suggesting that Gary Foxcroft should attempt to set up a child witch centre for children accused of witchcraft in Britain.
While it is up to the Nigerian court to determine the rights or wrongs of the claims of either party, it is imperative to state that the shoddy effort of Victor Ukutt in prejudicing the court’s decision is hereby condemned in its entirety. In establishing the falsehood of the allegations raised by Victor Ukutt through Kolade-Otitoju, it is important to state that Helen Ukpabio cannot escape from the consequences of her actions.
The activities of Helen Ukpabio had caused discomfort amongst citizens of Akwa Ibom and Cross River, and in fact, many Nigerians, ever before Gary came on the scene. I wrote an article titled: The Gospel of Materialism – Nigerian Pentecostalism and Hypocrisy (Part 3).
This article was written in September 2008 and the celebrated Channel Despatches film was released in October 2008, a month after. My article obviously predated the film by Gary and was borne out of my disgust at the unfettered reign of terror and calumny by Helen. My attention was initially brought to Helen’s activities by a respected friend who happens to be a professor in one of the nation’s universities. My friend found words insufficient to describe Helen’s atrocities. In the article I wrote, I stated, inter alia: “Pentecostalism (and the Olumba Olumba Obu cult, for that matter) thrives on the age-old emphasis on and the amplification of the potent powers of witchcraft. Cross River state is perhaps a very fertile land for the spread of the cult of Olumba Olumba Obu, being a state notorious for its submissive belief in witchcraft and sorce
ry. This particular attribute is currently being massively exploited by another religious charlatan masquerading as another Pentecostal, in the person of Helen Ukpabio. This self-centred modern day conqueror of witches and wizards has caused untold social upheavals and hardships in Cross River State and environ, leaving a legion of homeless and abandoned children stigmatised with the tags of being witches and wizard”
Of course, there were also many published articles on the atrocities of Helen ukpabio in both local and international media. All these, Kolade-Otitoju was unaware of.
It is obvious that my struggle against the criminality of Helen Ukpabio’s activities predated the international awakening that Gary’s film caused. My reaction (and that of many other indignant people) was not solely confined to just one aspect of Helen’s multifaceted approach to tackling witchcraft. Unlike what Kolade-Otitoju would want us to believe, “End of the Wicked” alone is not sufficient to vilify or exonerate Helen Ukpabio. If anything, it is just one piece of evidence amongst so many that Helen had carelessly scattered all over the placed over the years. She never knew that nemesis would eventually catch up with her. If Helen Ukpabio through Kolade-Otitoju would want us to believe that the common version of this film on the internet is tampered with, she has ample opportunity as provided by modern technology to put up the original version on the World Wide Web. For instance, the website of her church, the Liberty Foundation Church, could for a starter begin to show the original version in earnest. Amongst the careless evidences left around by Helen is the forsaken book titled: “Unveiling the mysteries of witchcraft”. This is at best a book fit for the pre-Renaissance period, written, sealed and stamped by Helen. It is an authoritative book exposing the mind set of this callous woman. Helen to date has never denied being the author of that book and somehow, Kolade-Otitoju conveniently forgot to mention the book in his paid attempt to rehabilitate Helen. Or could it be that this book too had been doctored by Gary and co?
To be continued.