Nigerians at odds over faith school
Yemi Adedeji, left, of the Evangelical Alliance, supports the opening of a faith school in Kent by a witchcraft-besotted Nigerian church. Human rights campaigner Leo Igwe strongly opposes it.
According to this report, Winners’ Chapel International – currently under investigation by the Charity Commission – wants to open the school at its Dartford site, but human rights campaigners such as Igwe, as well as the National Secular Society, are urging the government to turn down the school bid.
The proposed Kingdom Heritage Model School is intended for children aged four to seven.
The church links child “disobedience” to witchcraft. The David Oyedepo Ministries website states:
Disobedience is as terrible as witchcraft.
A while back Oyedpo was filmed accusing a young woman of being a witch, then slapping her.
This prompted Igwe to comment:
Many pastors subject their members and those who come to them for prayers to torture, inhuman, abusive and degrading treatment in the course of deliverance or in the name of casting away the devil or demons.
But Evangelical Alliance spokesman Yemi Adedeji effectively said “what happens in Nigeria stays in Nigeria”. He told the BBC:
The context of what happens in Nigeria and what happens here is very different. Most parents want their children to go to a faith-based school because of moral issues and I think we must salute that.
Igwe pointed out that the church obtains money from its members using what it called a prosperity-in-gospel narrative.
They make this money using this narrative and then they use it to establish businesses, universities, schools.
The Charity Commission confirmed concerns raised about Winners’ Chapel International included conflicts of interest and the charity’s financial management.
In 2011, Bishop Oyedepo’s fortune was estimated at $150m (£94m).
Stephen Evans, from the NSS, said the Metropolitan Police had investigated 27 cases of child abuse related to witchcraft this year. He said:
There’s a need to be vigilant and there’s a need to tackle this. You don’t do this by allowing organisations that believe in witchcraft and are associated with witch-hunting to open in the UK.
The Department for Education (DfE) said it had received an application and was aware of concerns. A spokeswoman said:
All independent schools must meet stringent standards before they are registered. These include tough rules on welfare and safeguarding. Police intelligence and criminal record checks are also carried out on the proprietor of the school, and any links to organisations which suggest the school might not meet the standards are investigated.
Hat tip: Leo Igwe