The Palace Temple headquarters of Liberty Gospel Church, along Ndidem Usang Iso Road, Calabar, was filled to capacity for the seven days, August 17 – 24, that the programme, “Defeating Witchcraft Powers,” lasted. There were two sessions for each day – morning and evening.
The morning session, which always started at 6 a.m., was used for counseling and screening of persons who wanted to know their witchcraft status. It was a prayerful, painstaking exercise with Evangelist Helen Ukpabio, General Overseer of the church and foremost film producer, presiding.
People, who wanted to know their witchcraft status and those who already knew it but wanted to quit the evil practice and severe relationship with the dreaded cult, participated in the screening.
They later met with the evangelist who prayerfully counseled them and gave information on their status.
The evening session always began by 5.p.m. It was a mixed grill, comprising sessions of choruses and praise singing, prayers and teachings on the character and activities of witches and their world. Ukpabio taught the people by herself. As she mounted the platform to teach, Ukpabio would assure the crowd, “At the end of this teaching, those of you that used to have witches on the roof of your houses will have them no more,” adding, “My secret in life is that evil don’t exist. And if they are found anywhere, they listen to my instructions.” That direct confrontation of evil powers was greeted with a wild applause from the people.
She taught the people about the different types of witchcraft, particularly those practised in Africa, Nigeria and the local communities. According to Ukpabio, there is white, black, and red witchcraft. She put quite a number of what people know today as secret societies, cult or religions as white witchcraft, noting, “In white witchcraft, people are organised into various cult groups or religions and thought certain things contrary to the Word and will of God.
“Some of the things they do are believed to have the potential of protecting the member and making him prosperous while harming the others in the work place, business place, school, the neighbourhood, or family. All the same, it is witchcraft and harmful to him and others.
“In black witchcraft, the spirit gets directly into the human spirit. It can be dropped into someone’s food and it develops. If you are initiated into it, you can do a lot of evil to people in the society. The black witchcraft is crude and dangerous. They act like beasts and have no sympathy or pity for humans.”
She supported this with what the Bible says in the Book of Job, Chapter 41 verses 24 and 25. Ukpabio told the people that the witches practise their craft on their beds (meaning while asleep at night), coveting other peoples’ fields and properties and taking them violently. Ukpabio cited a spot in the Calabar metropolis where she said the marine spirit is holding the people captive.
Hear her: “Nobody can do well in Akim market. People in the market would have done better than they are doing now in their businesses. There is a witchcraft coven there to stop their prosperity.”
She said there are a lot of people who practise witchcraft without knowing and that most people become victims of witchcraft because of their ignorance of God, thereby becoming vulnerable to witches and demons. She said the marine spirit is witchcraft, adding, ‘When it enters you, it does not want you to enjoy anything good or be prosperous. If you have the spirit of God in you, you will live to enjoy your life. If you have Jesus, then life will be sweet for you.”
Constantly supporting her position with Bible passages, Ukpabio lamented that there weren’t many prophets in the country involved in the fight against witchcraft, noting, “Many of our preachers are rather giving the excuse that not much is said about witchcraft in the Bible.”
She equally condemned the belief and teaching of some secret cults that people who are good generally and do not bewitch other people or practically harm them cannot be attacked by evil men, evil powers, and witchcraft. “This is a false belief. The Bible says the witch looks for the innocent to attack, harm, and destroy. The innocent here includes someone that has a carefree attitude to life. They look for people who are not involved with God, have not repented or are not working in the vineyard of God. The witches look for the generous and liberal people to harm and destroy,” she said.
Just as those who wanted to know their witchcraft status earlier waited painstakingly for their turns to have a one-on-one screening session with Ukpabio, the people who attended the evening segment, which always ended at about 11p.m., scrambled for convenient spots to sit and listen to the evangelist expose to them some of the secrets of the world of darkness. She also told them a lot about demons and powers like Lucifer and the fallen angels, Beelzebub, Leviathan spirit, and Marine spirit.