By Hilary White

ROME, October 15, 2010 ( – A Nigerian priest, military officer and pro-life activist has described the war against abortion in Nigeria and elsewhere as a “spiritual combat” and said that he hopes to bring the methods and spirituality of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants to Africa.

Fr. JC Akpan was forced to address a gathering of the world’s leading pro-life leaders near Rome indirectly last week after being refused an entry visa by Italian officials. In the paper that was presented to the Human Life International Congress in his absence, he wrote, “Unfortunately, sometimes we expend so much energy trying to fight evil in the physical realm, forgetting also to focus attention on the spiritual realm where everything is being manipulated.”

Fr. Akpan is a Senior Chaplain in the Nigerian Army and holds the rank of Lt. Colonel. He wrote that a woman who intends to abort has already “committed spiritual abortion, by rejecting her child, before actually going for the physical abortion.” This spiritual abortion can only be addressed by concentrated prayer, he said.

International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), he said, is “rampaging throughout Nigeria” promoting “sexual immorality” and “making nonsense” of the traditional African moral belief system, which he said, “basically abhors abortion” and contraceptive ‘family planning.’

With its huge international funding, IPPF is able to fully utilize the media, which makes the pro-life efforts “like facing a well armed soldier with a walking stick.” IPPF is succeeding in changing African attitudes towards children. While traditionally large families are favored, “Nigerians are now being subtly brainwashed to see children as diseases to be avoided at all costs.”

Fr. Akpan believes that the establishment of the apostolate of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants will combat this anti-family and anti-life propaganda. “The fact that most abortions are carried out clandestinely requires spiritual warfare so that those places are discovered to face the full wrath of the law. Helpers united in prayers could make authorities sensitive to the evil that is taking place unchecked.”

Going after the spiritual side of the abortion mentality, he said, “is not a vain effort but an effective means of stamping out the evil of abortion.”

Speaking “as a military man,” he said that he understands the concept of spiritual combat in military terms. “It is a waging of war against an enemy or acts undertaken to destroy or undermine the strength of a perceived enemy.”

“In this context, the battle line is drawn between the abortionists and the Helpers’ apostolate whose aim is to intervene (through prayers) for the lives of the innocent unborn babies.”

The Helpers of God’s Precious Infants was founded by Msgr. Philip Reilly who was also a featured speaker at the HLI Congress. Their stated goal is to create a prayerful presence outside every abortion facility in the world, where women can hear a “true” voice of compassion and receive offers of help.

Fr. Akpan said that the pro-life movement in Nigeria is busy, with centers across the country, and that children are treasured as a gift from God. However, “abortion persists because of the socio-economic situation.” Women abort when a child is seen as merely another mouth to feed, or if she is pregnant out of wedlock, to avoid shame.

He pointed out that abortion is not legalized in Nigeria. Studies have shown that even if the law were to be liberalized, only 13.4 per cent of Nigerian doctors would be willing to do abortions. “We thank God for the fact that babies are legally protected from this modern day holocaust.”

But Fr. Akpan said that the legal situation causes its own problems. The absence of abortion facilities, he said, makes it difficult to track how many abortions are being carried out illegally. It is known that “countless” abortions are carried out in homes “placing the lives of the mothers at risk.”

“Arguably, the number of abortions that take place in Nigeria every year may equal and even surpass those of some countries where the practice is legalized.  The legislation against abortion is not sufficient to stop it.”

For this reason, he said, a spiritual attack on abortion is needed.

Nigeria is one African country that is a focus of attention from the international population control movement. In 2002, the World Bank urged the implementation of abortion-friendly sex education programs. In 2004, Dr. Haruna Kaita, a pharmaceutical scientist and Dean of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, discovered that a polio vaccine distributed by UNICEF had been laced with chemical sterilizing agents. In 2009, the Catholic archbishop of Lagos told his brother bishops gathered in Rome that family life in Africa is “disintegrating through divorce, unfaithfulness and Western ideologies that are incompatible” with African cultural values.


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