It is equally annoying that Kolade-Otitoju also forgot to mention that in her statement of defence at the law court, Helen ukpabio indignantly stated that she had a right to a belief in the existence of witchcraft and that her brand of Christianity should be allowed to express this in the manner she fully understood – that is, pursuing innocent children. That Helen’s films were approved by the Nigerian Censorship Board did not imply that such films were healthy for public consumption. We are all too aware of the arm-twisting tactics of Helen in ensuring that her tainted films get the required approval, including the easy resort to law courts at the drop of a pin.
As for the noted accomplice of Helen, the gregarious “Bishop” Sunday Ulup-Aya (aka Sunday Okon Williams), the mere attempt of Kolade-Otitoju to link this despicable character with Sam Ikpe-Itauma is a deliberate mischief. Kolade-Otitoju quoted this miscreant as insisting that Sam Itauma suggested making money out of exorcism to him. It stands to reason that this witch-killing “Bishop” was an idiot and lacked basic intelligence, if he could have been so easily misled. Not only this, he would probably get suitable roles in Nollywood if he could have acted such a coached script so beautifully.
In this rejoinder, I will go the extra mile in revealing the atrocities of the agents of retrogression who have caused untold miseries and hardship in their heartless exploitation of the ignorant populace.
Oron region, Pentecostal Cannibalism and Sunday Ulup-Aya
The fact is that Sunday Ulup-Aya was a jobless miscreant who latched on to the money-spinning witch hunting business but lacked the finesse of Helen Ukpabio. He proclaimed himself a “Bishop” and the “Ulup-Aya” part of his name was a created one which means “a concealed secret had been revealed”. This was part of his grand design to create fear and befuddle the ignorant masses. His activities raised concerns in the Oron region of Akwa Ibom state.
Oron region in Akwa Ibom state is one place where the belief in child witchcraft is very endemic. This region consists of 5 local government areas and they all speak the Oron language. One day, in December 2007, one Lieutenant Iweke of the Nigerian navy, Ibaka sent a distress call soliciting for assistance over the plight of a child whose condition was so desperate that urgent help was needed. The child was found by volunteers covered with blood and urine. The child’s name is Edidiong or Blessing and is probably the most recognised face in the Channel Four film. Only recently, towards the end of February 2010, another child (a boy) was recovered by volunteers with the assistance of the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Oron Command. This child was accused of being responsible for her mother’s death and subsequently locked up in a room containing the mother’s corpse with a specific instruction to eat the corpse, if she wanted to live. This boy was identified as a witch by a church (your guess is as good as mine as to the ownership of the church) alongside his grandmother who managed to escape. But the boy was not so lucky and spent 21 days locked up with his mother’s corpse without food. Of course, the corpse was well eaten by the time the poor boy was rescued!
Sam-Itauma painfully recollected an episode in the course of their efforts while filming Saving Africa’s Child Witches. Sunday Ulup-Aya had a notorious reputation but fate provided a way of getting him to exhibit his unrestrained verbal diarrhoea. While undercover tactics had to be used to obtain his co-operation, Sam witnessed many instances when Ulup-Aya had to physically abuse children in trying to force them to admit to being witches – slaps, beatings and the likes. Sam recalled that his first contact with this “Bishop” was at Orukum in February 2008 and that the Bishop demanded for the sum of ten thousand naira as consultation fee and eventually accepted five thousand after much persuasion. Additionally, he demanded for and accepted thirty thousand naira before he declared the witchcraft status of the innocent children. He did not realise that he was being baited and he fell in headlong, enthusiastically boasting of his powers as seen in the film. Above all, he boasted of his murderous activities as well as claiming to have killed a lot of people (children and adults) who possessed witchcraft. In the lawless jungle of the superstitious Oron area of Akwa Ibom, Sunday Ulup-Ala is a much feared man and many people today could testify to the fact of Sunday Ulup-Aya being a noted killer of witches.
Then, what is the nonsense Kolade-Otitoju is trying to pass on to people?
Pastor Bilson Ene of Liberty Foundation Church
Also sometimes in 2008, a certain Pastor Bilson Ene of the Liberty Foundation church in Akwa Ibom state accused his son of witchcraft and took him for deliverance at the Liberty Church. Helen Ukpabio confirmed the witchcraft accusation and agreed for the child to stay with her for a while to carry out deliverance. Apparently, the deliverance failed and the poor boy was sent to join the multitude of homeless children on the streets of Akwa Ibom. Child was picked up by CRARN and stayed there up till December 2008. He was removed by his father from this centre on the instructions of Helen. This child can now be found roaming the Ibeno beach in Akwa Ibom.
I want to state that all I have written are true stories and they are stated here today to show the magnitude of the social problems we faced in the battle to confront preachers of doom like Helen Ukpabio and Sunday Ulup-Aya. I repeat with all sincerity that there is no fiction or figment of imagination here. I say this, knowing fully well that some of these stories mighty be difficult to believe as indeed they are occurrences that should not be happening in this age and time. Helen Ukpabio has written a lot on the issue of witchcraft with her writings being deliberate efforts to brainwash the people and heavily laced with superstition. She has three children who are jealously guarded and protected but has no qualms in stigmatisation other people’s children and later charging for deliverances.
Registration of CRARN and SSN and charity work as a scam
“……..By the provisions of sections 1,2,3,4, of the adoption law, sections 7,8,9,10,11 of the Infants Law cap 62, Laws of Akwa Ibom State 2000, and other relevant sections, Ita-Uma’s Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network had clearly contravened the statutory requirements for adoption, guardianship, fosterage and custody of children under their care”
While the import of the reference to the registration of Stepping Stone Nigeria (SSN) in the UK was not made very clear in Babajide Kolade-Otitoju’s confused write-up, the issue of the appropriateness or otherwise of the registration of CRARN should be better determined by the law court. However, the hand of Victor Ukutt was so unmistakable especially in this part of the write-up. It baffles one, how Kolade-Otitoju, a mere news magazine writer could be so adept at quoting the relevant provisions and sections of the adoption and infant cap laws of Akwa ibom state!
It should also be stressed that the Red Rebel Films company did not pay a penny to anyone before the celebrated film was shot (of course, apart from the amount paid to Sunday ulup-Aya!). Many television stations, Al-Jeezra inclusive came to film the situation in Akwa Ibom state and they did not have to pay a penny to do this. Gary Foxcroft did not set out to turn the child witchcraft thing into a money-making business and of course donations ahve b
een re-invested (and is continually being invested) on making the lots of affected kids better, countering the apostles and advocates of such practices and belief and also fighting sundry forms of child abuses in Nigeria and even the United Kingdom. I once wrote on the plight of the boy Adam who was stigmatised a witch in Nigeria but, by the hands of fate, managed to get to the UK and continued to face penury, health problems and immigration problems. Gary’s charity, the Stepping Stone Nigeria, along with the Red Rebel Films of Mag Gavan and co, have continued to provide succour to this boy.
There is also no element of truth in the rather vain aspect of Kolade-Otitoju’s write-up where he alluded to Victor Ukutt threatening some television stations in South Africa and Australia. This remains a mere grandstanding, probably to justify the huge investment Helen has made on the “expertise” of Victor Ukutt. It is nothing but complete tissue of lies. The fact remains that following the celebrated release of the film, many television stations and the world wide net massively circulated the film. Victor Ukutt would have had the task of threatening the whole world with litigation!
Kolade-Otitoju also claimed that following the abortive assassination attempt on the part of Helen Ukpabio, Sam Itauma hurriedly withdrew the sum of $24,278.61 from abranch of Zenith Bank in Eket. There is nothing farther than the truth here and it would be wise for him to show the withdrawal slips/statements in his possession to the whole world. For one thing, investigations revealed that Sam Itauma has never been a signatory to any of CRARN’s accounts. Again, it is beyond comprehension what Sam would do with such huge sum of money which was withdrawn at a go! Even in Nigeria of today, such a huge withdraw of a foreign currency would definitely lead to the involvement of the security forces. Again, money cannot just be withdrawn on the whims and caprices of any CRARN officer as laid down due process has to be followed. Again, the Oceanic account belonging to CRARN had been closed since 2008, thus a plain mischief to portray the account as still being active.
Kolade-Otitoju forgot to tell us what subsequently happened to the money that was purportedly withdrawn!
The Governor of Akwa Ibom State and CRARN
The governor of Akwa Ibom state donated the sum of ten million naira to CRARN in January 2010. This sum was actually awarded around July 209 but eventually released by the commissioner of information in January 2010. The government instructed on how this money should be used:
4.5 million Niara to be spent on purchasing land for the CRARN project
The remaining sum was to supplement the cost of running the centre, welfare and logistics.
The government further promised to tar the road leading to the ultra-modern CRARN project in Akwa Ibom that is still under construction and to commission same this year.
To be continued