Sunday Magazine

Mordernisation: Witchdoctors, Voodoo kings, spiritualists go online

•‘We give spiritual powers to fake men of God’


•Men seek wealth, power while women desire to capture, enslave men’


•I visited a witchdoctor when hospital failed me –Cecelia


•We don’t investigate magic, voodoo, spirituality or metaphysics –Police


Perhaps, hunger and competition for supremacy may have spurred Witchdoctors’ to take divinity to social media platforms. They now ply their trades online. ‘Digital Witchdoctors,’ as they may be referred to, use laptops to consult their gods on behalf of their clients instead of the old tradition of sitting on the skin of a dead animal while casting their cowries on the floor to their ancestors. CHIJIOKE IREMEKEA writes that they now turn their concoctions into lotions and fragrance to make it appealing to their patrons, while casting spells on unfortunate persons


Nigerians and Africans, by extension, are fast going back to the old ways before the advent of Christianity to depend on the services of traditional medicine or juju men popularly referred to as witchdoctors for wealth, healing, jinx breaking, spell casting and divination among other spiritual razzmatazz.


Currently, it’s more about the quest for power and quick money for the men, while the women seek their services to attract rich partners, rich men in relationships, to control their men, and prevent other women from having any form of affairs with their men among host of other activities in order to sustain their selfish desires and emotional satisfaction. Sequel to their patronage of these services and the hard time sweeping across the land, witchdoctors, are currently seen on every nook and cranny of the country soliciting for patronage.


Their presence is felt on the social media space where they now ply their business of divination and consultation without physical contact with such clients.


Referred to as ‘Digital Witchdoctors’ due to their online presence, they are believed to exist in virtually every part of Nigeria and their perceived influence on the economic and social lives of Nigerians is bewildering.


Hence, their aggressive online marketing attracts more people, including teenagers to their world. Gone were the days of casting cowries on the floor or ground while sitting on a dead and dried animal’s skin to consult for their clients. Distance, they say, is no longer a barrier to this business as they can consult from far and near for their clients irrespective of their location.


They have organised themselves under the auspices Witches and Wizards Association of Nigeria (WITZAN) through which they meet regularly and make pronouncements on issues affecting the country even when they have failed in dispelling the spell of insecurity plaguing the country.


Nevertheless, “the traditional animist practices and superstitions such as witchcraft, black magic, juju and native healing have long been part of Africa’s rural fabric, though it was suppressed by Christianity and civilisation, it’s lately being revived in some very modern settings across the continent,” said a doctor of History and lecturer at the Department of History and Archeology, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Ani Uchechukwu.


“The resurgence, in the view of some Africans, has been triggered by a feeling that important elements of the cultural heritage have gone missing in the continent’s headlong plunge into the 20th Century,” said Prof. Daniel Shishima of the department of Religion and Cultural Studies, Benue State University, Makurdi.


He is of the belief that people’s belief in witchcraft cuts across cultures, saying that Nigerians want power and so think that witches and wizards can help them.

“Somebody who wants fame resorts to witchcraft and someone who wants employment uses witchcraft or magical powers to get a job,” he quipped. He continued: “Others who want the position of governorship or any top elective positions seek witchcraft’s powers. People are afraid of those who have witchcraft powers because they even kill with those powers and manipulate things to their advantage.


Those who have it believe that they are untouchable, (hence the quest for such powers goes on unabated).” A historian, Athanasius Mohtou, holds the same view that Christianity came and destroyed the African culture, saying it is high time Africans got back and strengthened their religious worship which he has started observing.


He said: “I now break kola nuts in my house with white chalk in a traditional way.” Among the services being rendered online by these witchdoctors include casting out of spells on people believed to be under one form of spell or the other, which makes them spin like a rolling stone which gathers no moss.


Majority of their patrons believe also that spells were cast on them not to make progress in life, hence disentanglement of oneself from such spell.


The witchdoctors sell a number of products, perfumes and concoctions for male and female to attract favour. Some of them sell rings, attraction beads, favour and emotional balance candles, sex sweeteners for women, ‘do as I say’ ointment, attractive fragrance, perfumes to restore lost relationships and marriage among others.


Baba Dele Segun is a high Voodoo Priest Master. He avers to be a spell caster, native doctor, spiritual herbalist, powerful sickle cell healer, spiritual astrologer, psychic reader, multi guru, witchdoctor, and priest of Africa money ritual among others.


He said: “Have you been to native doctor without any solution to your problems or rather adds to it? Have you been to place in view of a powerful native doctor that can solve all your predicaments?


You must understand that there is a native doctor that supersedes all native doctors among all native doctors. “If you are in search of a powerful native doctor with great spiritual powers, then you must be in search of a native doctor that derives power from the Marine world, the spirituality of the greatest Africa traditional native doctor, Baba Araba.” “Baba Araba-gbamugbamu is recognised all over the world of Marine kingdom, as one of the top fortunate and most powerful native doctors of charms casts from the beginning of his ‘ancestorship’ until now.


Baba Segun lives strong among all other native doctors, there has never been any form of impossibility beyond the control of Baba Segun,” he boasted. He believes that the distance doesn’t matter as long as the seeker(s) believes in his charms, saying it’s the assignment of a native doctor to offer services to those in need of spiritual assistance, not minding the gravity of their situations or distance as long as water, sea, ocean, lake, river, and sand among others, are close to them.


Baba Araba claimed to have solutions to numerous conditions, including those seeking to get back their lost lovers; solutions to fruit of the womb, fibroid, business boom, financial breakthrough; get rich without ritual; ‘do as I say’ spell; bad dreams, promise and fail, epilepsy and spiritual attacks.


Others include success on land/court cases, cure to mental disorder; political appointment; visa approval; cancer cure; success in examination; spend and get back; good luck; natural health, Hypertension and diabetes cure; stroke and Sickle Cell cure; impotence cure; win court case, promotion at work; and commanding tone.


Other services he provides include sale of protection rings, love rings, favour rings, travel success rings; and his charms, according to him; ensure success in marriage; in recovery of lost glory, spiritual power for fake men of God, job success; Lotto/pool win and many more.


Again, the Leader and Fore teller of the grand ancestral shrine of BANTU from South Africa said the distance will never terminate the ancestral (spiritual) connection in bringing back lost lovers, claiming to be authentic and best traditional healer in South Africa.


In his commercials, he urges those who  would like to know their fates and destinies accurately, using the ancient methods of checking through water, mirror, palms of the hands and others enabling him to read their problems to seek his services.


He added: “I am the current leader and fore teller of the grand ancestral shrine of BANTU, which has been in existence since the beginning of the world as a source of the most powerful unseen forces. Come with your problems and it will get solved, whether wealth, sickness or power.”


Elisha Yahaya, who resides in a sleepy settlement on the outskirts of Makurdi, Benue State, said he has been practicing as a witchdoctor for 28 years, having inherited the practice from his father and learned from a friend. He claimed to have the ability to prepare medicines/charms for about 12 ailments such as typhoid fever, malaria fever, broken limbs and legs.


Also, he offers abstract services to his numerous clienteles.


He said: “I have a concoction that I prepare for my clients to ward off bad luck; it is prepared in a calabash to be bathed with for eight days. On the eighth day, I circle round the client with either a fowl or cock (depending on whether the client is a male or female). Once I do this, I take away the ill luck from you and you begin to prosper in your business or trade.”


Yahaya’s practices include ritual sacrifices such as burying goats alive to help people avoid repaying debts or to influence court judgments. The clients supply the sacrificial animals in addition to the fees they pay. He said of his charges: “I charge N5, 000 for charms seeking justice while N40, 000 is for debt recovery charms. I also charge N50, 000 for concoctions that make the blind see. For those who come seeking good luck, I charge them N10, 000.” His services, according to him, also include countering the effects of witchcraft.


His clients come from far and near. In a week, he gets an average of six clients and makes an average of N50, 000 and the ranges of people who patronise this practice are varied. Yahaya said his clients include politicians, who come to obtain charms and spiritual interventions to outdo their opponents and win elections.


He claimed a governor reelected in the 2019 elections is one of his patrons and for which category, he charges ranges from N200, 000. A well touted one is Arab Money Fraternity (AMF) Brotherhood. According to this fraternity, the biggest secret to wealth is a desire to learn. The biggest difference between the wealthy and the poor, is that the wealthy sek information to learn how to become wealthy.


According to the Chief Consultant of AMF (name withheld), the Fraternity does not take human blood, but there are three stages a wealth seeker will go through before getting all that he wanted, insisting that Arab Money Fraternity does not require human sacrifice.


He said: “Join AMF today and enjoy tomorrow. You will never regret joining AMF. Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So, love people who treat you right. Forget about those who don’t. Believe everything happens for a reason. “If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy; they just promised it would be worth it. Stop envying the rich and think like the rich. Live your life the way you want it not to please people who don’t have anything to contribute to your destiny.


Speaking on how to join the fraternity, he said: “You can’t go into the fraternity without consulting. You need to consult for 48 hours (two days) after which initiation comes into play.


The need for consultation is such that there are different destinies and we need to work with serious minded persons. “Some people pretend to be interested but by the time you have gone midway, they will pull out after seeing the temple and the real members. It’s usually bad for you to see our members when you do not have the intention to join.


Also, during the consultation, we need to consult on each person individually because Mr. A’s destiny is not the same as Mr. B’s. “During the consultations, we require the full name of the applicant, photograph, his state, town and village. We also need the money he wants to be spending, whether Naira, Dollar, Pounds or Euro.


It’s the money mentioned during this consultation that the Brotherhood will be giving to him during the holy days. Holy days are the days the brotherhood gives money to its members. “Also, during consultation, you are required to perform certain sacrifices but we do not require human sacrifice.


You can sacrifice any other material, animal, egg or any other creature but we do not need human sacrifice. If anybody dies around our member, then it should be the carelessness of that member.


“For instance, we have rules and they are to be strictly followed. If anyone violates the rule, he will not die because he is under our protection but someone close to him could be affected and by that, you will not say that we used the person as sacrifice.


“Having said this, there are three stages in this fraternity. In the first three years, the fraternity will give you money and protection. After three years, the fraternity will not give you money again because it’s expected that you would have made enough money during this first phase and have numerous investments that will sustain you at the top. “The fraternity will not give you money again but the protection is sure.


Then, if you need other things, like fame and power then you have to move a step forward. This is your decision. If you don’t want fame, then you can stay quiet and enjoy your wealth without people asking the source of your health. “It’s the power to control the minds of your customers.


After this stage, you can seek power to go into the politics of ministry, to open a church and manifest powers. It’s all your choice. At this stage, if you choose to present a soul for all these, it’s your choice.”


On the other hand, the women also patronize these witchdoctors and dabble into all manner of charms, whether as a solid material or edible or in the form of ointment, which they rub on their private parts before making love with a man. They do theirs to keep or regain their lost relationships, or attract more love from their men, and for a quest to control their men.


Her Secret Empire (HSE) deals with a number of charms and fragrance for women to attract men and for them to enjoy sex among others. It sells a range of products like favour and mercy set for N10, 000.


This fragrance attracts favour from men and mercy for all. Black Obsidian wealth bracelet goes for N100, 000 and worn on women’s waist or wrist. This tells men that not all the waist band or bracelet worn by a woman around her waist is fashion. Some of them are worn to enslave unsuspected men who will be turned into their cash cow should there be any intercourse. “There is also a charm called ‘do as I say’ for the women.


They use this to control their men and they are being advertised online. With this, anything you tell your man, he will do it. Another helps you to get rich men. Kayanmata(Women Stuff) helps the woman to enjoy sex during intercourse,” said the CEO of HSE.


Sunday Telegraph learnt that the ones for insertion are meant to tighten the vaginal walls and muscles; some are so effective and tight. The liquid ones you drink are meant to do the job from inside.


They work with your hormones to increase sensitivity and thereby making you very wet, and warm down there, the way it feels when you are ovulating- that warmth and increased moistness. You can go for long hours having sex and orgasms. Also, there are perfumes used on either the body as body perfumes or used to steam the vagina.


They are applied on local clay incense burners and you cover yourself with a cloth while you let the fragrance envelope every part of your body, with special attention to the vagina. This also tightens, deodorizes, and increases sensuality in the woman which the husband will enjoy when they meet.


Sunday Telegraph learnt that the last part is made from a young female chicken that has not started laying eggs. It is cooked in these herbs, leaves and oil. It is believed that it will turn your sexuality to be fresh, vibrant, and active as that of a young chicken. This is used mostly on brides. No bride goes without this particular chicken Kayan mata concoction.


One of the patrons of Witchdoctors, Josephine Abbey, said: “I visited Akwa Okuku Tiwara Aki when I had exhausted my money in the hospital treating perforated intestines, not knowing I was poisoned. My friend poisoned me on my birthday, according to the witch doctor.


He told me the person’s name and healed me.” Another patron, Tirgom Abubarka, said: “I speak from a northern perspective, and will cut across parts of the north where these traditions are practiced. Even those who do not have them as part of their traditions are borrowing it and becoming masters of the game.


“In Northern Nigeria, what is mainly used in spicing sexual, romantic and intimate relationships are herbs and perfumes. The final product is called Kayan mata (women stuff) and Kayan maza (men stuff). In the north, women say sex without Kayan mata is like cooking without salt.”


But then, not all that glitters is gold. These young men, women seeking after wealth, power, protection, fame, love, marriage and control over others from Witchdoctors should rethink and look very well before they leap as the saying, “Nothing goes for nothing.”


According to Rev. Victor Obiora, Satan does not give one N200 without expecting N200, 000 from such a person but lures such person into destruction. He said: “Satan expects and will take more than he has given to you but the Bible says that the Blessings of the Lord make us rich and adds no sorrow. This is why it gives you fame, wealth, power and fake protection in an exchange for your soul.


Use your brain young people. There’s no free lunch anywhere. “It may sound simple and mouth-watering, but the end thereof is destruction. It’s not the same way bitter kola sounds to the ear that it tastes. Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy but Christ came that we may have life and have it more abundantly.


“Be patient, not to mortgage your life; work hard, pray to God to crown your hard work with success. This is the only way you can make it in life and not by voodoo or any other dangerous means.”


Corroborating him, Obi Cubana, an entertainment guru, after a lavish burial ceremony of his mother and following people’s comment that he got involved in ritual money, said, “Satan does not give you money. That native doctor does not give you money because his children are the ones fetching water at the stream.


Work hard, hard work and with …pays.” More so, an Abuja-based lawyer and rights activist, Jimoh Hameed, re-echoed that the belief in witchcraft is so entrenched in the Nigerian psyche that there are laws criminalising the practice.


“Looking at the provision of the Criminal Code in section 210, you will observe that witchcraft and juju are criminalised. Then, when you look at the provision of Section 216 of the Penal Code, it also criminalises witchcraft and juju,” he said.


However, the Spokesperson of the Nigeria Police Force, Frank Mba, said the police do not investigate magic, voodoo, spirituality or metaphysics, stating that anything within the realm of divinity or metaphysics is outside the Police’s scope of mandate.


He noted that when a Nigerian is forced into submitting himself or herself to a shrine or is forced into taking an oath in a shrine, the person that does that act can be investigated and charged for an offence called ‘trial by ordeal.’ He said:


“This is the only time you find us charging somebody to court for something that has to do with voodoo or divinity. Secondly, though we might not investigate metaphysics, divinity or voodoo, if a suspect is arrested for stealing pants, we will investigate the suspect and charge the person to court for offences so disclosed.


“The defining questions are; is this act empirically, forensically or scientifically verifiable? Secondly, is it defined as an offence under the laws of the land? Once you cannot answer these two questions, then it is outside our sphere.”


Conversely, while some of these witchdoctors are known for their genuineness, sometimes it could be difficult to detect whether all of them who parade themselves online as witchdoctors are truly what they claim. Some of them are scammers while others are real.


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