Nigeria: Life, Death and Witchcraft in the Niger Delta

“On the Far Side of the Fire,” an essay by Jessica Wilbanks.

“Helen Ukpabio wears wide-brimmed hats in jewel tones and pumps dyed to match, and in 2009 she was consecrated as an apostle of the Lord. She says that the people of Akwa Ibom are not being ravaged from without, by impersonal demons of political corruption, environmental devastation, and disease, but rather from within, by sin and demonic attacks. The problem here is not material, she says, but spiritual—she says that she should know. When Helen was fourteen she was initiated into the ways of witchcraft and was even betrothed to Lucifer himself. God delivered her (thanks be to His name), but she still sees the world through spiritual eyes. She can look at someone for just a moment and know if they are walking in the light of God or are plagued by spirits of poverty, infertility, and disease. My father, who worships the same God Helen worships, would call this the gift of discernment…”

Read more of this excerpt here 

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