“It was in the middle of the night, something tells me to wake up. I opened the window to see the streets, it was dark. Right across the road was a group of banana trees, it was about 20 of them clustered in a small place. That spirit says to keep watching, then I saw an old lady flew right in, and another one and right in front of my eyes about a dozen of them gathered for their midnight meeting. It was such a big revelation into the life of witchcraft, I see them and now I believe they exist.”
This event according to the narrator was sometimes in the 80s during a visit somewhere in Ajegunle, Lagos. This guy said so many other stuff to back up the story.
This is not a new story, not in a slight sense. It follows the same scripted notes that makes everyone scared and develop sense of distrust and suspicion of people around them in real life.
I was indifference to the story and really didn’t want to get into this kind of topic with people I barely knew however, I was a bit curious and wanted to understand where this man was coming from.
Our environment and past experiences influence quite a bit of our outlook in life.
He was born and raised in London. The visit he was referring to was his first ever trip to Nigeria. The brother has lived with serious medical health condition most of his adult life. He is a christian. He thinks there are witches everywhere going about to hurt good people but they flourish mostly in Nigeria south.
So why don’t we have women, poor old women especially, being stoned to death on the streets of London so the world could be rid of these bad people, does that mean people here practising all sorts of spirituality are better behaved because there are rules of laws that protect all humans and clearly state boundaries to which all must not go beyond?
This by far was a more comfortable conversation to have, with ease it was agreed that killing of another person in the name of perceived offence is possible in Nigeria because human lives have no value and no protection especially if one is unfortunate enough to be poor.
A few days ago, there was another old lady dumped on a popular street somewhere in Port Harcourt. Allegedly, a young man saw all the ‘transformation’, he was right there to witness it all. The lady was on electric pole and when power was restored, she fell to the ground and turned into a bird – the story does not have to be complicated, it is just as simple as this to get enough people to play along.
What I found interesting the most was that pictures of this woman was taken from all angles: face down, face up to capture all of her. She only wore a short midriff top, exposed from stomach downwards.
What was clear from the photos was of a woman who was likely to have been in captivity for a few months, she was very thin, and lifeless on the ground. Even in this state were sticks and mud bricks around, perhaps that people have hit her with.
Why are people still hitting someone who could barely move an inch? And why is this obsession with nudity of an obviously damaged individual?
Ripping people off cloths is to show disgust, to ridicule.
To the guy who saw banana tree witches, we both agreed that terrible things happen to humans in different countries, but the difference is the attitude in which cases are treated by the authority and people around.
In Nigeria, ‘witches’ being stoned to death will always attract a sizeable crowd with different opinions. Often cases are not investigated and no one is prosecuted. So the same story will repeat itself in a few weeks.
Whatever we believe Nigeria constitution says does not apply to poor old women when it comes to being publicly humiliated for being a witch. People laugh, pray and take pictures to show how witches in our area look like.
In civilised environment it is a criminal offence for anyone to take another person’s life regardless of perceived offence, the job of the judiciary is to determine guilty party based on evidence presented and to apportion appropriate punishment.
In a way, I am glad that things like these are being shown on the internet to raise awareness to to get people talking. No doubt, we still have a long way to go.