Native Doctors: Friends  or Enemies?

By Jude Atupulazi

In far off times, a native doctor was a valued asset to his community, at least, so I learned. He was respected and loved; even if with some degree of awe. He was called upon any time someone in the community fell ill. He was also available when someone needed to be rid of the ogbanje spirit or to render any other spiritual help, including divination. The native doctor lived in harmony with his community.

Those were in years past. Fast forward to today and you see a situation where the native doctor has become a destroyer of his own society and where all manner of people now profess to be native doctors. Changing times? You can call it that.

Worst of all, our modern day native doctors are spoiling our youth, deceiving them and controlling their minds. Many young men today will first listen to a native doctor before any other person, even if that other person is a priest of God. The native doctors have made them believe they can be above their society and can do anything and walk away.

That is why many a youth today arms themselves with all manner of charms and moves about, believing they are invincible. They carry guns and kill fellow human beings, and fortify themselves with their ”odeshi”, charms, believing the charms are enough to protect them from bullets; yet, when they encounter law enforcement agents they get killed.

Today the same native doctors deceive our young people into killing fellow human beings for ritual purposes, believing that they will become rich. Sometimes they dismember their victims and deliver choice parts like limbs and genitals to the native doctors.

The other day a Yahoo-Yahoo young man was nabbed after it emerged that he was sleeping with his own mother. He said a native doctor told him that if he did that he would become rich. This is not to talk about those who kill their parents, friends and partners, all in a bid to get rich as told them by the native doctors.

Some months back in Umunze a young man was caught after cutting off the nipples and earlobes of an old woman and he said a native doctor instructed him to do that.

Even in the bushes where the notorious Unknown Gun Men hide, one usually sees many charms and amulets, including shrines, at those places. It is no wonder that more and more of our youth have left their vocations to start ”learning dibiaship” or native doctoring. They have become lost souls

It is thus very clear that the modern day native doctors, many of them, have turned to native killers and become a big menace to their immediate society. What to do?

They say that an elder does not stay at home and watch a goat have its baby while tethered. In the same vein, the government and communities should not watch hands akimbo as these evil native doctors continue to ruin our young men. I’m aware that the government had in the past embarked on measures to checkmate these native doctors but from what has continued happening it looks like government’s efforts have not borne much fruit.

It is therefore time for government to launch an all-out war against these beasts in our midst. Yes, there are many native doctors whose hands are clean and who still practice their vocation in the ways of the native doctors of old. These people should not be tampered with by the government or their host communities.

The task in hand requires both the government and communities to join hands in flushing out the devilish native doctors. Every community knows its bad eggs and in the same vein they can identify easily those evil people masquerading as native doctors. They have done us grievous harm.

The identities and locations of these native doctors can also be gotten from arrested criminals who wear charms. They should tell us who prepared the charms for them and where they are. It is not enough to subject them to mob action or throw them into jail. They should be made to tell us those who ”fortified” them.

Again, even though there is freedom of worship in our constitution, communities should ensure that all the shrines in their midst are investigated, registered and monitored. This way, the evil and devilish acts of these people will be curbed. If nothing is being done, we will soon have an army of young men answering native doctors. The preponderance of such people had made the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, to cry out against what he called ”neo-paganism” which, he said, had captured our young men.

The governor of Anambra State, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, had also expressed concern in the past about the growing number of young men involved in paganism. It is therefore time to do the do and quash them and their menace.

In a similar vein, government and communities should take a deeper look at the many mushroom churches opening up in every nook and cranny. Their pastors are as guilty, as evil and as menacing as their native doctor counterparts. While the native doctors are killing and deceiving people in the native way, these pastors are doing theirs in the guise of religion. Yes; just as criminals go to native doctors for fortification, they also go to these pastors for spiritual protection.

And just as many young people are setting up shrines, others are also setting up churches or what they call churches, all in a bid to fool people. I would have suggested that these people be left to wallow in their tomfoolery but since their actions are affecting the rest of us negatively, they should be crushed.

Still on these emergency pastors and their churches, I have often seen people clustering in such churches in broad daylight in mid-week, singing and shouting at the tops of their voices for God to do miracles for them, their families and their businesses, without knowing that they are instead boosting the businesses of the so-called pastors. What many of those people don’t know is that even if they sing and dance for forty years nothing will happen. The heavens help those who help themselves and you don’t expect God who gave you arms and legs to bless you when you do nothing with them and keep waiting for manna to fall from heaven for you.

This is not only for those being fooled by emergency pastors. It also applies to all those who use the time they should be working to pack themselves in one church or the other praying for wealth. Such people should be kindly told that wealth is not in churches but in their work places, in the markets and in the streets. A taxi driver who leaves his car in the afternoon of a week day and sleeps in the church because he wants wealth is wasting his time. As long as you have that taxi, it is your sure way of getting the wealth you crave for.

God will not descend from heaven to till the land for a healthy farmer who has the means. God will not descend from heaven to help a truant student pass their exams; just as God will not descend from heaven to bring customers for a trader who locks up their shop in midday and goes singing in the church.

What Am I saying? Prayer is good but everything has its own time. There is time to work and time to play; time to work and time to pray. We have to choose the right time to do things or we end up losing all. It is when people don’t understand these things that they fall prey to wayo people masquerading as either pastors or native doctors. These wayo people are doing their own business. They have opened their own shops while telling you to close yours and come to help them do their own.

Nigeria was recently proclaimed the country with the second highest number of churches in the whole wide world. Yet, with all those churches, criminality tops. With all those churches, no progress. With all those churches, no salvation. But do you know the country said to be number one in the number of churches? America! But in their own case, almost everything works. If then it is working for them, why is it not working for us?

Attitude! Attitude!! Attitude!!! That’s just the difference and until we change it, we will be clapping and singing in vain and we will continue to be milked by thieving native doctors and wayo pastors.

May the good lord help us.