Court rules against Helen Ukpabio and the Liberty Gospel Church

Today a Federal High Court in Calabar in Cross River State, presided over by Justice P.J. Nneke, dismissed the application by Helen Ukpabio and some members of the Liberty Gospel Church seeking to enforce their fundamental rights against Akwa Ibom state government, the Commissioner of Police of Cross River state, Assistant Inspector General of Police, Leo Igwe, Sam Ituama, Gary Foxcroft and others as respondents for daring to organize a workshop which they perceived to be critical of their activities. They asked the respondents to pay them 200 billion naira ($.1.3 million dollars) in damages.

The court wondered why Helen and her church members attacked some of the respondents and still came to court to enforce their fundamental rights for the mere reason that the victims of the attack dared report the matter to the police. The court dismissed the application and awarded costs of 20,000 naira(184 dollars) against Helen and her church members. Helen Ukpabio, her church members and her lawyers were not in court today for the ruling.

It should be recalled that last year over 150 thugs from Helen Ukpabio’s Liberty Gospel Church invaded the venue of a workshop on Witchcraft and Child Rights in Calabar. They attacked and beat up the organizers of the program. The police intervened and arrested some of them; in their statement they said they were sent by Helen Ukpabio to disrupt the event. Shortly after the arrest, Helen and her church members went to court to enforce their fundamental rights. Early this year, Helen’s lawyers did not appear in court on two occasions and the court had to strike out the case. But a month later, the leader of her legal team Victor Ukutt went to court and re-listed the case.

“This is a landmark judgment and a victory of the rule of law over the law of the jungle. I am greatly delighted that the court has sent a strong message to Helen and her church members who have continued to use their connections to evade justice and to undermine the cause of reason, enlightenment and human rights.”

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