Crimes: In search of natural/traditional remedy

Police IG Mohammed Adamu

Many people are clamouring for the employment of natural/traditional remedy to tackle kidnapping, banditry, others that have plagued the society. ELEOJO IDACHABA writes on past efforts by some Nigerians.

Just as the saying goes that necessity is the mother of invention, so also strategies are being devised in many forms to counter insecurity which appeared to have defied every conceivable solution in the country.

This, in the opinion of many, is not to undermine the capability of the conventional government-paid security architecture, but as partners in progress targeted towards checkmating insecurity that is already like a plague in the land. To that extent, people are advocating for natural/traditional punitive measures to complement existing legal systems.

For instance, it was cheering news in some quarters when a few weeks ago, thunderstorm reportedly killed 18 suspected kidnappers at a forest in Toungo local government area of Adamawa state on the border between Nigeria and Cameroun.

Available information indicates that as the kidnappers were sharing their loot thunder suddenly struck leaving them dead on the spot. According to a source, the bandits had collected over N20 million from a wealthy business man between Koncha in Cameroon and Toungo in Nigeria.

The source further said, “Angered by incessant attacks by kidnappers, community leaders and victims consulted a native doctor to send thunder after the bandits. They met their waterloo when they gathered to share the money. Because of this, local hunters could not retrieve their corpses nor the money as well as their weapons.”

Confirming the incident, the Adamawa state police public relations officer, DSP Suleiman Nguroje, said the incident actually happened within Cameroon soil near the border with Nigeria.

 “We heard that the victims had engaged the services of a native doctor; however, it occurred in the neighbouring Cameroon which is not under our jurisdiction,” he said.

Police seek partnership with herbalists

In 2016, authorities of the Ogun state police command equally sought partnership with herbalists to fight kidnappers and ritualists. Then commissioner of police, Ahmed Iliyasu, called on traditional medicine practitioners in the state to help the police in tackling kidnapping and sale of human parts that were becoming a thriving business.

Iliyasu made the call in Sango-Ota while declaring open a one-day workshop on “Effective policing: The role of traditional medicine practitioners.”

Blueprint Investigation shows that the workshop was organised by the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) for the alternative medicine practitioners in the state.

Iliyasu said, “The body could assist by regularising their practice, carry out membership registration to eliminate quacks and also screen their clients to ascertain the genuineness and legality of the help they seek.”

The CP said the only way the police could succeed in providing adequate security for lives and properties is to maintain a cordial relationship with the citizens. To that extent, he urged the people of Ogun to help the police with valid information that would help to eradicate crimes from the state.

“We have concern for security of lives and properties. For us to carry out effective policing we need first hand information. There are some people who believe that the only way they can survive is through criminal activities; we will hunt them down. We have got a new police, which is ready to protect the rights of the people.

“We are here to make Ogun state stable, sanitise the society and say no to brutality. Make sure your hands are clean: regularise and formalise what you are doing. Help us to make the state free of kidnapping, cultism and dealings in human parts. Assess your clients to ascertain the genuineness and legality of the help they seek from you.”

In his reaction, the chairman of Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) in the state, Ibraheem Olaniyan, said the essence of the workshop was to raise the awareness level of alternative medicine practitioners to issues of crimes in the state. “The PCRC is tired of reports about imams, pastors and herbalists caught with human parts or defiling a teenager in the state,” he said.

Benin monarch’s action

Also, in the wake of the heightened high-level kidnapping, robbery, human trafficking and cultism in Edo state in 2016, the Benin monarch, Oba Equate II, invoked curses on the perpetrators of the dastardly acts, a development many say is the antidote to the inhuman practice that was already defacing the face of humanity in that state.

The invocation, according to reports, was done during a special meeting in the palace of the monarch to find a lasting solution to security issues and other sundry issues in the state.

Blueprint Weekend’s investigation revealed that among those who participated in the exercise were other top ranking chiefs like the Ohen Okhuae, Ohen Ovia, Ohen Noriyekeogba, Ohen Ake, Ohen Niwuo, Ohen Sango, Odionwere, Iwueki, the enigies and other prominent native doctors.

Further reports confirmed that the traditionalists in the various domains also placed curses on everyone that in one way or the other aids and abets criminalities.

Curiously, on the list of those cursed by the royal fathers were other native doctors who subject the victims of human trafficking to oaths of secrecy and others whose business is to initiate the sons and daughters of the land into various cult groups.

According to the Benin monarch, the purpose of the invocation is to assist the state government in collaboration with the palace to put machinery in place in order to stop illegal migration and human trafficking among the people.

He frowned upon sinister practices where human lives no longer matter and victims of human traffickers are subjected to oath taking, which makes it difficult for them to provide useful information to regulatory agencies like NAPTIP in order to get the perpetrators arrested.

He warned those aiding and abetting human trafficking through the use of black magic and subjecting them to the oath of secrecy to desist, warning them to desist from it or face the wrath of the gods.

He said, “You native doctors whose business is to subject people to the oath of secrecy and encouraging this evil act in the land, you have to repent, stop doing it. This is not a joking matter and if you do not repent, you have to wait for the repercussion.

“The palace is not against those practising the act of native doctors but seriously frowns on those who use it to perpetrate evil in the land through aiding and abetting human trafficking in the state.

“Those who are under oath of secrecy have been set free and at liberty to air their views and reveal their sponsors without fear of any harm from their sponsors.

“We want to use this medium to tell those who are under any oath of secrecy that they are now free. We revoke the oath today.”

According to the monarch, the interest of the palace is to work for the development and progress of the state and all hands must be on deck to work towards that direction by doing what is right.

“What the palace stands for is peace and the development of the state. I want to use this medium to tell you that the palace seriously frowns at the act of using charms to aid human trafficking and other crimes against humanity. We want us to join hands together to fight against human trafficking in the land,” he said.

He used the opportunity to warn priests and priestesses of the Benin traditional religion to desist from offering services to human traffickers, but urged them to use their god-given spiritual gift to do what is right at all times.

The monarch warned secret cult members who usually unleash terror and commit heinous crimes in the society, to have a change of attitude or be ready to incur the wrath of the ancestors whom he said the palace represents.

Finally, it was said that special prayers were offered by the Benin traditional religious practitioners for the peace, progress and development of the state, while a curse was again placed on those who may wish to go contrary to the palace directives on the issues of illegal migration, human trafficking, cultism and other crimes against human dignity.

70-year-old woman’s exploit in Niger

Residents of Minna especially Mashegu local government area recently heaved a sigh of relief when scores of bandits were killed by local hunters led by a 70-year-old woman.

According to a certain Malam Alhassan who was part of the operation, the exploits of the hunters in the battle against banditry were amazing.

He said the team sporadically shot into the air to scare the bandits out of their hideouts in Zuguruma forest and allowed them to exhaust their bullets before descending on them.

“They continued shooting without a particular target until their bullets finished. It was at that point the hunters now descended on them and killed 40 of them,” he said.

It was learnt that the governor, Abubakar Sani-Bello, had enlisted the services of spiritualists to assist the state government in ridding the state of bandits few days to that incident. That particular operation led by the septuagenarian was one of such efforts.

 It was also gathered that a commander of the bandits and three others who came into the town to buy recharge cards and other basic needs for the group were arrested by the group and handed over to the state police.

Blueprint Weekend gathered further that the breakthrough came barely a week after the state government declared state-wide prayers in mosques and churches against the bandits.

Commenting on the new strategies, Governor Sani-Bello said local militia, community vigilance groups and local hunters must collaborate with security agencies in a renewed effort to engage and completely chase away kidnappers, cattle rustlers and armed bandits in the country.

A statement by the chief press secretary, Mrs. Mary Noel Barje, quoted the governor as expressing joy over the efforts of the spiritualist and the hunters, saying a radical approach towards the bandits has become necessary.

He said, “We must not allow them to send us out of our respective homes. We have to defend our territories and it has started in Niger and we have started recording success in that direction.”

Africa’s own technology

Writing in the New York Times on this menace and associated matters, a Nigerian journalist, Adaobi Unwaubani, said, “It is all well and good to imagine Africa as a ‘Wakanda’ where technology rules and everything works. But Africa is not a ‘Wakanda.’ At least, not yet! We must use what Africa has today to get it to where we want it to be. That is the beauty of African civilisation. What is today known as civilisation started way back in Africa with its African components that served the people meritoriously?”

Expert’s advice

A Nigerian US-based anthropologist, Chukwujekwu Mordi, said, “When the chips are down, there are alternatives to everything. Just like the saying that where there is no doctor, you become one, the African cultural heritage has solution to all the problems in African societies unfortunately those with these rich cultural heritages are not even aware of the power within. There is no African that has no reverence for African powers; that is why we have the belief that African witch can destroy destinies anywhere, but custodians of this cultural value should look inward to use it as antidotes against moral failures in society. Everything is not about western moral values. Africa also has robust system endowed on her by nature.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply