I wrote this piece in November 2010. I came across it recently and I have decided to publish it. Enjoy.
As I drove to speak at an event last Saturday, I noticed a pot of food at a road intersection close to where I live. Growing up in a small town, these fetish ‘meal sacrifices’ were quite common. They were usually placed at three-way road intersections apparently for the benefit of demons who 'the presenters' hope will grant the desires of their hearts. So I was a little surprised to see that this phenomenon also happens in big cities like Lagos. No doubt many three-way road intersections in the city would regularly host this type of ‘meal sacrifices’ including the intersection as you climb the bridge leading to Ikoyi from Third Mainland Bridge.
During my college days, many students, no demons themselves, routinely devoured these sumptuous meals on their way back to campus from late night parties. I was always amazed at their audacity. The subtext is that demons hardly eat the meals, hungry students with no care in the world do.
You may then wonder, why in this modern age do people still engage in such practices? The simple answer is the spate of hardship, poverty and problems that daily confront many Nigerians. Whilst this is no excuse for engaging in occultism and the deceit of fetish specialists, the truth is that things like this thrive where sick people have no recourse to medical help; where women are subjected to traumatic experiences by their husbands’ family; where people can see no escape from overwhelming poverty, and where societal expectation is choking.
Every human being wants to be free. They are often prepared to do anything, even the absolutely ridiculous, including meal sacrifices at road intersections, and enslaving themselves to medicine men if they believe any of these will deliver to them the freedom they crave. It’s a vicious cycle for many, a classic case of the wicked prowling because vileness is exalted.
I feel that a good percentage of this vileness, and ‘meal sacrifices’ will disappear when we deliver good roads, justice for the oppressed and quality education for our people.
What do you think?