What is to be done?

I felt that it was necessary that I talk about this issue especially as regards to my people. My people here is in reference to the Akwa-Ibomites. This was necessary after I wrote THE TRAVAILS OF MFON and where regrettably I could not come to defend my character and story due to extreme circumstances purely beyond my control. Needless to say that the story was not purely fiction and even though most of us have heard about some so-called Men of God and their atrocities, the story gets crazier – for lack of a better word- as new twisted exploits by these men/women are perpetrated. THE TRAVAILS OF MFON happened to a distant relative and caused so much havoc that I felt that what ‘Christianity’ has done to my people has to be documented for posterity sake. I will try to be objective even though I might lean more towards the side of the victims.

Akwa-Ibom was carved out from Cross-River in September, 1987 and her religion has been the orthodox form of Christianity and paganism. I put the two religions together because almost every church goer still had a tie to one god perhaps not intentionally as some were bound to these gods through the activities of their ancestors. But then again, I am not writing on paganism but Christianity and its abuse.

Almost every Akwa-Ibomite can boast of a tie to the Methodist Church. This was the first church to be established and to which many people attended because it brought a sense of belonging to its worshippers. The Methodist Church is like the Catholic Church to the Igbos, a church that can lay claim to almost half of the citizens in the state. Perhaps it would have been best if nothing had happened to change everything. But it did because people were still not content. It will be erroneous to believe that there were no other orthodox churches like the Catholic, Anglican or Pentecostal churches like the Apostolic and its likes but the Methodist was a church of the people.  Most people had believed that in leaving other gods behind, their worries would become a thing of the past; there will be no more sudden deaths and misfortunes but this was not the case and this led to the establishments of prayer houses. These secret prayer houses were in the homes of acclaimed prophetesses as the church frowned against any gathering outside that announced by the church. It also frowned against too much spiritualism, by this I mean, speaking in tongues, visions and the likes; activities that were touted by these prayer houses to be more effective.

These prayer houses were headed by women called the prophetess who saw visions and ‘helped’ prevent misfortunes. I cannot readily proffer reasons to why it was started by the women. Nevertheless, these women still attended regular churches but now had a side thing which the church was unaware of. Needless to say that the church later got wind of these activities and in a bid to put a stop to it threatened such women with a suspension from the church. Perhaps, the threat came a little too late because by these time some women cared little about such pronouncement and left the church of their own accord going ahead to establish their prayer houses openly. The people torn between an establishment and a ‘perceived’ solution center took the easiest route by attending the establishment regularly and the ‘perceived’ solution center when they perceived trouble in their households.

The prayer houses, perhaps in a bid to bind these people to themselves started giving extreme prophecies; prophecies that did more harm than good. Witchcraft had always been spoken of in undertones, for instance, a suspected witch or wizard was always avoided but these prophecies advocated for them to be maltreated and cast out of their houses. It started with the aged and slowly trickled down to the children. Children were being cast out of homes due to the fact that they have been proclaimed witches and wizards. This caused many broken homes as some mothers were also being cast out for giving birth to these little witches, mermaids and wizards and therefore bringing misfortune to the home. One would have thought that the advent of education would have brought more enlightenment but alas, even the enlightened ones are more prone to these prophecies as house helps have been maltreated due to these pronouncements.

Do I then believe that there is no evil? If I believe in God, I surely believe that he has a counterpart, the devil. That is not to say that because I know that these two being exists, logic should then be lost. I had a craving one day, here in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom state; I was at work and I wanted so bad to eat puff-puff/buns, and I asked someone to go get it for me only to be told that it would not be found and so I shouldn’t bother. Misunderstanding the person, I told her that she would probably find it where the women that fried akara and yam would be and she reiterated again that no one fried it publicly in the state again. Her reason was that this was due to an Helen Ukpabio’s movie, many years back where children were drafted into witchcraft through puff-puff and this sunk into the people that puff-puff was bad especially for the children and so because no one would buy the puff-puff from them, the women stopped frying them. Aghast I could only stare at her, first in anger and then later in sadness. This was not directed at her but at my people, for they are my people; what would it take to convince this people otherwise? How do I stop the depression when I see another child with torn clothes sleeping in a public place and people saying “Hmm…another witch/wizard”?

The governor of the state, Governor Godswill Akpabio said in his first term bid that whosoever came to tell him in a bid to curry favour that his mother who suffered to put him through school was a witch he would have such a person arrested because it didn’t matter what his mother was, her deeds and his love was enough to exonerate her. There is also an advert here in the state, even though I saw it in an estate meant for the very wealthy of the state, a place that I didn’t think was appropriate for that kind of advert since the people that were targeted by the advert rarely frequented the place. The adverts in effect chastised the poor, telling them that no one called the children of the rich/wealthy witches, mermaids or wizards and that they shouldn’t allow anyone destroy their homes by labeling their children with such names. That is a good step but I believe not enough in eroding decades of the brainwashing brought about by these prayer houses. Perhaps they all started out with good intentions but along the way something happened to change all that. Perhaps it was to keep the people bound to them or perhaps it was a way of lashing back at the Methodist Church. I am not a member of the Methodist Church but yet I feel their helplessness in being bound to certain traditions and practices and yet I know people have found succor in them. This is not to say that succor has not been found in other places but you can only perhaps begin to understand if you attend a funeral service, the set routine can be quite therapeutic.

With this, perhaps you might understand Mfon’s Plight. Will this not break the home if Mfon even tries to intimate her family on her sexual assault? Who do you think the family will listen to, Mfon or the Pastor especially after the Pastor has declared her to be a mermaid? People have advocated poverty and ignorance as one of the main causes of this brainwash and even though I am inclined to agree, I would still have to ask about the enlightened ones that maltreat their domestic help once the church proclaims that person to be a witch, the enlightened ones that refuse to look after their parent(s)/other relatives in the village because the church has proclaimed one of them a witch/wizard. What reasons/excuse do you give for these ones? What is to be done in stopping this effective brainwashing that has a hold on the previous and present generation? I wish I could say with full confidence that beliefs like this would die with my generation, but it will not because these deep-rooted beliefs cannot just be destroyed by mere wishes or willpower. Something else needs to be done, but what is it, what needs to be done?

 

 



40 thoughts on “What is to be done?” by enoquin (@enoquin)

  1. What is to be done?..Take this and publish in a local newspaper..

    On a more serious note..the issue raised in this piece is found in almost all parts of Nigeria..
    Brand a person a witch and nobody cares what evil befalls the person thereafter..It is usually seen as what they rightly deserve…
    I still ask ur question..What is to be done to remove this mindset nigerians have?..
    Nice work Enoquin..Let me go and read Mfon’s travails..

    1. What’s to be done?!

      Kill all mothers and children who accuse their mothers of witchcraft…

      I can see @Tola smiling already.

      1. And what would happen to the fathers?..
        Bury them alive..for not taking any action against it at first…
        Abi na for other matters dey dey form Head of House and Man of the family?

        1. The fathers had better watch in silence…ELSE.

      2. @Seun: And when you kill all those who accuse others, who will be left, the witches? lol…..

        1. Na the witches na…who else?

          1. @Seun: So if the witches come remain, who dem go see chop or suck blood, themselves?

    2. Hmm…Bubbllinna…I didn’t know it was rampant all over Nigeria. I have always thought the yorubas to be more open-minded (this is not an attempt at tribalism) as regards to religion and I always look at them the way I look at the Americans, on the other hand, I view the attitude in my state, the way I view the British…stiff!

      1. Lol…D brits won’t be too happy to read U compare them to Akwaibomites or even view them in the same light…Dey are that stiff!!..
        Why..they can’t even stand americans or the pple from d oda end..Lord knows they had love to step on everybody and walk away with dia tightassed expressions..like they own d world…hehe..

        1. @Bubbllinna: the brits? hehehe…na dem sabi. They can’t stand anyone, can’t even stand God self…And yet I like their movies, kind of laid back but with crazy scripting

  2. I think it’s somehow…but be that as it may, there are actually a couple of cases where it’s the truth. The mother was actually a self-confessed which.

    I witnessed like two of such…

    But then…what are we to say?!

    I like your writing…but you already know that.

    1. @Seun: No, I didn’t already know that. Anytime you comment, I cringe inside expecting disparaging remarks. So kind sir, I am actually thrilled that you like my writing!

  3. Na wa o. @enoquin, I’m very glad I brought this to limelight.
    @seun, witch ko, aje ni!

    First,of all, what is the interpretation of a witch?

    You see, that’s why I like men. I’ve never heard a man coming out to confess that he’s a wizard. Yet, funny enough, in the bible, most of the people that Jesus drove away evil spirits from their bodies were even the men-folk. Now, even the innocent children have been included. It’s funnier that this trash is rampant only in
    Africa.

    I also notice that our major problem in africa is lack of love. How does a husband/father whose wife/child is accused of being evil react? How does the mother behave? If she’s actually what she’s accused to be, I think you people have been living together all these while, why’re you still normal?

    What can actually be done?

    The people should be made aware of the fact that our major problem is hunger, from poverty which is as a result of corruption. A belle-filled human being doesn’t think about witch.

    Other churches should come out and condemn it. I think they’re the ones that
    can make real impact. Organizations should also do the same.

    However, if anybody claims to really be a witch, SHE should come out and confess publicly and then drag out her other members. Not her coming out alone to talk gibberish from hunger.

    And for the children, they’d better be left alone.

    1. Did I tell you Eletrika that I like this your profile pic? Anyways, what about when the accused usually have no choice in the matter? Like one prophetess sits down somewhere and brands you a witch? Because that is what happens, especially to the children.

    2. Maybe u should add Superstition to that list….

  4. @Enoquin, I found this very informative; I wasn’t aware of the ‘role’ that the Methodist Church had unwittingly played in helping the growth of these religious leaders who demonise children as witches. Thanks.

    By the way, you never published the following parts of ‘The Travails of Mfon’. (I’m beginning to think we should set up a register for people who start a series without finishing it. :) )

    1. Kai, Tola! You wan come disgrace me sha! i go write am abeg make the matter die now now. Yes, unwittingly is the correct word.

  5. If more people who know the truth stand up for the truth, then half of the problem is already solved. But that’s the trouble with the average man. He doesn’t want to face the truth. It’s too much effort for him. He sits around doing nothing and expecting someone else to do something. I’ve read similar stories of the dubious practices of these so-called prophets and prophetesses. Only a few people have actually decry the practices and they were foreigners. If only more people can stand up and say no more……hmmmmm

    1. But you see, religion has tied the hands of the average man. “Touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm”, “Who are you to judge?” or “the wrath of God will fall on you if you talk bad about a Man of God” is the ready answer you will get from the average man or better still you get a look that says “you are going to hellfire!”

  6. This is a bold step @Enoquin, and it is a good start to a reasonable cause….what is to be done is what needs to be done. If you are passionate enough about this cause, then I think you should start a campaign to eradicate this act from your family, neighbourhood, state and indeed the entire nation. Cheers!!

    1. I hear you, If I start the aluta, will you join? Besides see my reply to ymoweta above….

  7. I am very educated, but I have experienced witchcraft. That thing is not mere belief issue o. I was in Benin when a woman fell from the sky and claimed her flight fuel finished.
    I have a maternal grandma that I seriously suspect. If you are that wrinkled, you should be a witch. She has even refused to die.
    And then my paternal grandma died in 2008 and all her goats and chickens died the same day. I mean, all the domestic animals she had died with her.
    Coincidence abi? Lie!
    I read metaphysics, we are Africans witches exist. We know this. We are Africans. No smoke without fire. Of course superstition always exaggerates these things. And I know churches can be very silly…

    Still I have tried to avoid having sex with any Akwaibom lady. I no fit shout.

    @sybbyllwhite, where ά̲̣яε u from seff?

    1. Kaycee! Abeg do not kill me with laughter o! When it’s time for your maternal grandmother to die, she will, witch or not. Besides, i didn’t say they do not exist, I only said logic should be applied in such cases….Come wetin do akwa ibom ladies? You wan start that kain gist?

    2. The issue is that the accusation in becoming too much. As I said before, why should it always be the women, and now the children, the same vulnerable class regarding most social issues?
      I’m not stopping anyone from believing whatever he/she wants to believe. But…

      1. @Eletrika: Gosh (in shocked tones) have you forgotten that in Africa, the man can do no wrong?! That is not to say that men have not been accused it’s just not as rampant as for the women!

    3. Hahaha…I trust u to come out with something like dis. Fuel finish…na unsubsidized fuel or what? She should check into another filling station sharperly!

    4. @kaycee, kai, yee, abeg, I no fit laugh! Na wa o, which kind of fuel is that one? Is it JetA1??

  8. @kaycee..U beta leave ur maternal grandma alone..I know of one whom children actually thought 2 be an animal..she was dat old,wrinkled and bent..and she wasnt even eating or drinking anything…
    Me..I fell from venus..not because my flight fuel finished o but because I needed a change of planets…Satisfied?

    1. @Bubbllina: You left Venus for Earth? SMH

      1. Why u people making me crack my side? Arrrrrrgh!

      2. @Enoquin…Say that again.

        Talk about REGRESSION!!!!!

  9. I totally feel your point. This witchcraft accusation thing in Akwa Ibom perpetrated by churches is sure getting out of hand. Although we agree witches exist, but then superstition has suddenly added in the matter, where these pastors pose real players. I think most of them are trying to prove to their members that they have prophesying powers, when they actually don’t. Now we watch several innocent children helplessly condemned as witches and beaten to a pulp into believing so. Even TB Joshua has had to prove their witchcraft hypothesis wrong.

    In fact I agree you lie in a better position to stop this trend by getting this vital write published in a local newspaper in Akwa Ibom, and attracting more voices and additional insights to the matter.

    1. Ha ha ha…Dowell, I feel you. Akwa Ibom has no newspapers per say except few pages of faction publications. I feel going online is better, why? Because the other kind of ‘enlightened’ ones will get to read it too. An online campaign will work much faster and have effective results. The local campaign to the people themselves have to be coordinated because as @ymoweta said the average man refuses to face the truth talk less of the churches themselves.

  10. Akwa-Ibom and Cross Rivers are to me one and the same….isn’t it in Calabar that Mary Slessor fought and won the fight against drowning of twin children?
    This issue is way beyond the present…it had always been a part and parcel of that particular region….of course, there will be those that will come in and cash in on the situation. But, the truth still remains that the issue of witchcraft was ‘manufactured’ and perpetuated by the people of the region. I like the fact u re coming out to talk about this, but the problem is more deep-rooted than the churches or the prophetesses or whatever. A people that is ready to be led by the nose, will always find themselves being led by the nose, by a moron nonetheless.
    Strange things happen- natural or otherwise. I do not care too much to try and understand them. I just go with my own personal conviction ‘Que sera sera’ .
    Liked the way you put this out though.

  11. Nice article @enoquin. U try no be small! Pls champion this fight oh! #OccupyFakeProphetsandProphetesses!!!

    1. Gboyega: This una occupy matter don tire me oh! Na all of us go champion the fight or didn’t you hear bubbllinna say it’s all over Nigeria? Thanks jare for reading

  12. Those of you that don’t believe in mermaids should be very careful with all them riverine girls. Akwaibom, calabar, Asaba, Bayelsa.
    Please nobody should publish this in our papers. The witches could get bolder.
    Who remembers the NTA interview between Bishop Idahosa and the chief Wizard from U.S.A during Babangida-s regime ( I forget the exact year). At that time a thousand witches were supposed to have a convention in Nigeria. It is a funny tale,I might give details as a post later.
    I have seen them, so I know they are everywhere.
    There is one in my office. I don’t know how to do the holy ghost fire thing, but I have told her that I will slap the demons out of her head. Maybe next week.

  13. @Kaycee: So under the water, the mermaids are only from Akwa Ibom, Calabar, Asaba and Bayelsa? South-South Mermaids? You are talking about a witch convention, didn’t the association of witches in Nigeria campaign for Pres. Jonathan during his electioneering bid? As for the one in your office, i am sure she is one fine mgbeke, that has been refusing your advances….lol

  14. … a courageous write…

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