Jide Adebayo Begun reports from Lagos.
On 9 May the residents of Alafia Street in Mushin, one of the most notorious ghettos of this sprawling metropolis, woke up to the sight of a dead cow in the middle of a popular T-junction that symbolises the meeting of three roads.
The cow, its red gut paling in the merciless sun, blocked a part of the roadway, causing quite a stir among both pedestrians and motorists, and worsening an already chaotic morning traffic.
The strange event has residents of the neighbourhood living in fear, because, they claim, such a mammoth sacrifice might occasion a spate of kidnappings. Parents are keeping their children on a tight leash and motorists have taken to using alternative routes, because such a sacrifice is said to bode ill for the seer.
According to Mr Kola Adewuyo, a renowned witchhunter and recorder of the bizarre, the sacrifice is the handiwork of members of a church, the Jesu Ngbala Ministry, located on Alafia St.
The said ministry has had its share of controversy, not least because of the media attention drawn by its leader, the Prophetess Doctor Ayowonu, who claims she is God and that she created the universe.
According to residents, the Prophetess is a cohort of many powerful men and women in Nigerian society, including governors, pastors, billionaire heads of tout gangs, bank CEOs and popular Fuji singers. They also report that luxury cars are often parked on the church premise, especially on nights when the power supply has been cut.
The Prophetess has denied responsibility for the sacrifice. She claims that because she is God, she needs neither help nor assistance.
“Whatever would I need sacrifices for?” she quipped, “I answer my own prayers!” And when asked how she felt about the allegation, she said “They are all my children, let them.”
A renowned sociologist from University of Lagos has opined that the “sacrifice signals a terrifying renaissance of the old teleological ways, and people are now taking metaphysical laws into their hands.”
A popular shaman in the area, whose spiritual afflatus owes allegiance to the traditional Orisha rather than the Christian belief system, also remarked on the novelty of the incident: “Were the sacrifice made of fried bean-cakes, corn or pap, it would have been of no significance, but the huge fact of the sacrifice, and the majesty of its apotheosis had made it a mighty one.”
He further contends that the favours sought for the killing of such an expensive cow must be great indeed. The leader of a Pentecostal church in the area, on the other hand, insists that this sacrifice will be taken as a call to arms by his prayer warriors. The leader, who wishes to remain anonymous, says that although the satanic kingdom is trying its best to win adherents and gain control of the world, it will not succeed.
“Whoever thinks the blood of a cow would redeem her or grant undue favours is not only deluded, she will also be making a very unwholesome covenant with the satanic kingdom.”
As for the carcass, it is being guarded day and night by the head of the vigilante group, Odua People’s Congress (OPC), which says that although it’s not their duty to protect the metaphysical interests of any votary, they will prevent misguided persons from stealing the meat because it is unfit for consumption and dangerous to the health of the soul.
The Local Government Authority declined to comment on the incident.
This article previously surfaced in Chimurenga Vol. 16: The Chimurenga Chronic (Oct. ’11)
Other Nollywood titles in this month’s Chronic include: