The city of Abuja, one of the fastest growing cities on the African continent, is a mixed grill of happenings or better still, a collection of the good, the bad and the astonishing. So don’t be surprised to see a signage or billboard advertising ‘spiritual healing’ success in business, success in marriage, fertility problems as well as offers of love potion and protection against evil attacks. Though such unsolicited advertisements can be noticed in strategic areas like Jabi, Apo, Utako, Garki, Karimo, Asokoro, they are widely seen in the suburbs. There are also phone numbers of victims of HIV/AIDs, looking for partners of equal status put out to the public instead of seeking assistance or advice of necessary authorities concerned with their plight.
Technology has also helped in giving the activities of traditionalists, native doctors or whatever name you prefer to call them such drive that it does not take long for them to have clients who saw their phone numbers on walls, trees, poles, abandoned vehicles in motor parks and bridges, knocking on their doors, making it possible for the people who fall victim of their unholy tricks to lose their lives or thousands of naira.
Unfortunately, the concerned Department of the FCT seems not to have strict measures in place to monitor their activities, investigations by Nigerian Pilot on Saturday has shown.
Reportedly, these ‘consultants’ (if they can be called that) range from Indian gurus, Buddhists, traditionalists to spiritualists, all promising the same thing- solutions to life’s many problems. Stories abound of people who have been duped by said healers without their problems being solved. Though, there are those who attest to the potency of such methods, a lady, Nkechi Ajulu (not real name), was not that lucky as she had to part with money meant for paying her rent courtesy of a public advertisement on the streets of Abuja.
“Am a graduated of Institute of Management and Technology and I read Fine and applied Art. Although they say experience is the best teacher, I have learnt the hard way while trying to be faster than God”. Nkechi said.
Her story: I have been seeing public advertisements on signboards without giving it a good thought until that faithful day after I had heated argument with my boyfriend of six years because he was not showing any sign of commitment that would lead to marriage. My fears were confirmed or so I thought, when I went to his house one day and met a girl he introduced to me as a good friend. He also told the girl I was a friend too, this made me think that he had dumped me for the girl.
“That was how I decided to find solution to the problem and thereafter, got a phone number from one of the signboards I had been seeing claiming to solve love issues. It happened that a woman picked the call so I told her about the problem that I had with my guy. She wasted no time in telling me to come over to her place in Karimo, a suburb in Abuja.
When I got there, I met a man who told me it was his wife I spoke with earlier and that his wife had explained my predicament, so I had nothing to worry about.
He gave me a substance and asked me to speak or pray to it, about my problem. I did as directed and gave it back to him.
He asked if my boyfriend had money and I said yes! He said he was going to make sure my boyfriend married me, with full access to all his wealth.
The man told me I needed to pay for the miracle he was going to perform, which would see me become a married, rich woman. I fell for it. I told him I had N350, 000 which was meant for paying my house rent, I brought the whole amount and gave it to him because he gave the assurance I won’t be needing it since I was going to have my man back.
He told me to come back in the night to perform a ‘cleansing’ ritual and because I saw a woman with him who claimed to be his wife, I did not suspect any foul play.
When I got there at night, he brought out the substance he asked me to pray upon in the day time and asked me to remove my clothes, I refused but he insisted that it was the only way he could carry out the cleansing that would enable me get my man’s love back, so I gave in.
He rubbed the substance on his manhood and slept with me three times; using the substance each time and saying some incantation. In the morning he asked me to go straight to my boyfriend’s house and ask him to have sex with me, which I did. But regrettably, nothing happened after three months. As we speak, my boyfriend is now married to another girl.
It dawned on me that the Karimo native doctor was a 4-1-9ner. I called several times to explain things to him but he would not pick his calls, when he finally did, he told me not to call him ever again. So here am I today with no money or husband. Nkechi said.
Nkechi is just one amongst many, who have fallen victim of public advertisements of self proclaimed messiahs who claim to be money-makers, or have love portions, and healers of sorts but unknown to many residents, they are con men and women who milk gullible and greedy people through phone lines.
However, Mr. Nwaogugu Ejike, a native doctor thinks otherwise. He was of the opinion that the lady was just unfortunate to fall into wrong hands because there are genuine native doctors, with good minds who have been using powers bestowed on them by God to help people.
“Some of us are real because we inherit such powers from our ancestors we did not learn to use the powers; we are naturally gifted to use them to help restore happiness to people, without fleecing anyone.
“Most often, we tell our clients to come back and show appreciation. Others would however, bargain with them when the problem is sorted out on what to bring. It could be some amount of money because we have to take care of ourselves and our families too,” he narrated.
However, because Nigeria is mostly made up of Muslims and Christians, skeptics have wondered if government is aware of the proliferation of such healing houses and what government is doing to weed out the dubious ones amongst them.
To clear this doubts, Nigerian Pilot on Saturday, visited the FCT Department of Outdoor Advertisement and signage (DOAS), where Mrs. Ramotu Umar, who is Head of Client Services, made it known that there is nothing that can be done to curb the situation because of the freedom of worship in Nigeria.
“In Nigeria there are three main religions, which are Christianity, Islam and traditionalists. Anybody can choose the one he/she wants to belong to. If we are to probe the traditionalists that means the other two religions are to be probed as well.
“Our clients from these three religions come to pick forms, that we call free Application forms, which they fill and return with the sum of N2,500”, she explained.
She further explained that the public advertisements they normally kicked against were those nailed to trees or seen around the City centres, because there are particular places they are meant to be which , is in front of the shrines and if there is any one that should be put out, they pay heavily for it.
“Be it on rooftops or standing fence and the skyline, so they pay according to the sizes of the signboard, which is to be renewed yearly through our licensing practitioners who will now pay into federal Government account”, she clarified.
Umar, then advised that people should pray to God for direction as that is the only solution to their problems.

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