British People and Witchcraft-style Exorcism in Black Communities – By Leo Igwe

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Next week, a religious event, being organized by Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministries (MFM) will take place in London. The general overseer of this church, a Nigerian geneticist turned pastor, Dr D. K. Olukoya, will be ministering at this healing and deliverance program. Pastor Olukoya is one of those African pastors who have dedicated their evangelical enterprise to ‘disgracing and destroying the ministry of witchcraft’, and his witch finding and witch expelling techniques will be on display at the event.
British people should be concerned about this program. They should be worried because this is not just a mere religious function but a program that poses potential risks to children in black communities. Not too long ago, the British society witnessed cases of witchcraft related abuse of children in its black communities. People were outraged to learn about the horrific ways children were branded as witches and then tortured and killed by their relatives in the course of exorcism. The cases of Victoria Climbe and Kristy Bamu are still fresh in our minds. In the cases of Climbe and Bamu, British authorities launched investigations that traced the problem to healing and deliverance services of pentecostal churches in Africa and in African initiated churches in the black communities.
The reports claimed that the problem was widespread and under reported. It is not clear the measures which the British authorities have taken since then to address these harmful church practices. However, with this healing and deliverance program holding next week in London, it seems that there may not be any effective mechanism in place yet. I understand that tackling harmful religious practices in minority communities can be difficult in a place like Britain because the authorities do not want to be accused of racism or abuse of religious freedom.
But look,concerned persons should not be deterred by such misguided charges and claims because there is nothing racist in putting a stop to a practice that clearly harms or puts at risk the lives of children particularly in black communities. What is actually racism here is allowing such a problem to fester.The exercise of witchcraft style exorcism is not an exercise in freedom of religion but rather an abuse of it. And I want to add, it is not an exercise in multiculturalism either. It is an abuse of it.
Now let us take a critical look at this pastor’s antecedents and the church activity to be held next week to show why British people should be concerned about staging such a healing and deliverance program. Olukoya is a pastor who ministers on how to overcome and dismantle witchcraft and branches of his MFM church have adopted varieties of anti witchcraft prayer programs. He has written books and delivered sermons in this respect. Let me say it here that nobody is against Olukoya exercising his rights to freedom of religion and freedom of expression.
However, beyond writing books on witchcraft and saying what he thinks about the cause of human problems, (and all concerned British persons should pay close attention here), Olukoya organizes events where he exorcizes people of witchcraft and other demonic spirits.
So next week in London he will be doing just that-conducting healing and deliverance services, and most attendees to this event would be people from the black community. Now I want British people to ask: what is Pastor Olukoya going to heal people of? What is the disease in question? In fact is Pastor Olukoya a healer? When did he become a healer? We know he is a geneticist not a healer, a pastor not a healer and if he is a healer, where was he trained?
If he is not a trained healer, why should he be allowed to practice in London? If he is healing without any training; is that not against the law? Is he not putting the lives of people at risk?  Will Olukoya  conduct deliverance services, as the program says?
What is he delivering the British people from? Is it from mental, physical or spiritual diseases? Or from demons, evil spirits, witches and wizards? The issue is not just in his witchcraft teachings that should be debunked, challenged and critically examined, but the practice of ‘healing and deliverance’ which is what is bringing him to London.
It is in the practice of healing and deliverance that the superstitious belief in witchcraft becomes a harmful exercise that puts the lives of vulnerable persons at risk. This is what led to the deaths of Victoria Climbe and Kristy Bamu. Allowing such an exercise to go ahead in the name of multiculturalism or to turn a blind eye on it because one is avoiding being called a racist is doing a great disservice to the British society. It is an insult to the memory of Victoria Climbe, Kristy Bamu and other children who have lost their lives to witchcraft-style exorcism in the black communities. A stitch in time, they say, saves nine.


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