By The National Secular Society
The National Secular Society has called on the Home Secretary to deny a controversial Pentecostal Nigerian ‘witch hunter’ pastor entry into the UK.
David Oyedepo Jnr is due to address a Winners Chapel International convention in Dartford on 13-16 August. In a letter to the Home Secretary the National Secular Society argued that preventing Mr Oyedepo from entering the country is a necessary step to tackle child abuse linked to faith or belief.
In 2011 Mr Oyedepo was captured on video assaulting a young girl at one of his ministration events in Nigeria. After accusing the girl of being a witch, she can be heard saying she is a “witch for Jesus”. Mr Oyedepo then slaps her around the face and denounces her as evil.
According to a CNN report, in 2013, Cameroon’s President Paul Biya ordered the closure of nearly 100 churches citing criminal practices organised by Pentecostal pastors that threatened the nation’s security. A Government official told CNN that the group’s pastors had “outstretched their liberty” by “faking miracles” and “killing citizens” in their churches.
The same report also states that on 11 August 2013, a 9-year-old Christian girl collapsed and died during a prayer session in a Winners’ Chapel in Bamenda. The girl’s mother, Mih Theresa, told CNN that the pastor intended to “cast out the numerous demons” that were in control of her daughter’s life. The report also refers to pastors dissuading people from seeking medical treatment or forbidding the taking of medication, with apparently lethal consequences. The pastors, however, claim the closures are to suppress criticism of the Government.