Is it still in doubt as to the existence of African magical powers when indeed daily, newsstands are awash with stories of birds and cats turning into human beings? CYRIACUS NNAJI x-rays Africa’s world of witches especially those within our immediate surroundings.
It is certainly not everybody you see on the street is truly human and not every rat, bird or cat you see is actually what it is called. With amazing things happening repeatedly in our clime, the uninitiated begins to ponder and wonder about the existence of certain phenomena. Indeed life itself appears to be suffused with mysteries and inscrutabilities making the saying ‘the more you look the less you see an in­disputable reality.’
In 2002 after the Ikeja Lagos Cantonment bomb blast, thou­sands that died directly or indi­rectly from the accident were buried in a mass grave at Oke Afa. But immediately after that incident stories became rife that people went to the grave­yard in the dead of the night to burn candles or incents to tap unused stars of the dead most­ly young people.
In Benin City years back a woman was seen sitting on high tension electric wires and when she eventually came down, she disclosed that she was actually travelling to America to kill her neigh­bour’s son, but the journey was cut short because she began the journey late. In the same Benin, long, long time ago, a pussy cat went to a hospital and bite a woman who was just delivered of a child to death and when it was being clob­bered to death it transformed to an old woman with broken limbs as she was dragged to the paramount ruler in the city; the same kind of story was harvested at Odolowu Area of Lagos five years ago when a woman was seen on the pin­nacle of a Mosque. She pushed down a young man who went up her temporary residence to assist her to come down. The man fell with a thud and died instantly.
Just in 2014 people of Aje­gunle (A.J. City) in Ajeromi/Ifelodun area of Lagos say a bird transformed into an old woman who confessed to be­ing a witch.
The woman speaking in Yoruba language, disclosed to a bewildered crowd that she was on her way back to Ibadan, Oyo State as a bird when she lost her way. She also revealed that her magical powers had been weakened because it was dawn.
An eyewitness who gave his name as John narrated thus, “At about 7 a.m., three black birds were seen flying side by side along Ojo road. Suddenly, one of the birds landed on a moving pick up van.”
“Everyone ran away at first but we later gathered round the woman only to discover that she had a bruise on her fore­head with which she landed.
“When we asked her what her mission was, she said three of them were sent to Lagos from their coven in Ibadan but that on their way back, they missed their way. She said they started hovering in the area un­til it was morning, adding that she fell because she was tired. She also told us that she initial­ly did not want to embark on the journey and that she used to restrict her witchcraft activi­ties to Ibadan because of her age. She was thereafter taken to the Baale of Ajeromi, where she confessed to have killed her husband through witchcraft.”
Police authorities took the woman into custody to prevent her from being lynched.
And now barely a fortnight ago in Coker, Orile area of Lagos another evidence in the existence of African magic was recorded as stories made the rounds that a cat transformed into an old woman right in the middle of the road.
The story came in two an­gles. Just as one had it that a cat transformed into an old woman, the other version had it that it was actually a very big rat with an unusual futures.
The proponent of the latest version said it all happened in front of her friend’s shop, say­ing that the rat was big and has horn-like projections on its head. She said there were many area boys in the area smok­ing Indian hemp and witches don’t like “ikpo” As they puff out the smoke the rat which stood in one particular place, though unusually, began to shake. When those boys saw the change in the behaviour of the rat, they intensified the puffing magic and suddenly the rat gradually transformed into an old woman.
The teeming crowd watch­ing the drama all fled for safety, but later slowly returned to the scene. When she was ques­tioned, she responded that they were 200 that came from Ogun State and that she missed her way. And when the area boys threatened to kill her she re­sponded that they cannot kill her. This was the situation until the police came and took her away.