Native Doctors: The New Conmen in the Name of the Gods

Fr George Adimike

The prevalence of scams and swindles by native and fetish doctors is alarmingly increasing. It is mainly spreading through the exploitation of social media and preying on the youth. Some of these so-called Internet native and fetish doctors deceive people in the name of cultural revival, leading them towards fetishistic practices and abandonment of Christianity. These unscrupulous individuals are taking society back to some obnoxious traditional religious practices from which the light of Christ saved our people. In the name of a back-to-roots and misguided quest for tradition, they lure many persons to the darkness of religious practices of human sacrifices, psychological manipulation, financial exploitation and debased existence rooted in unredeemed natural inclinations and instincts. It is not disputable that Christianity brought our people out of a religion that wallowed in fetishistic practices, human sacrifices, killing of twins, burying great people with human heads and selling brothers and sisters into slavery. In their craze for relevance, fame, and fortune, they leverage the services of the hegemonic social media to resurrect and spread their paganish and mercantile acts.

While one wonders why fetishistic rituals possess such an arresting appeal that grips the youth, it is to be recognised that in the process of being a tool for selling values and wares, social media acquires and exercises hegemony over the youth. In reality, the blessings of the ICT revolution notwithstanding, the information age is helping to create a digital ecosystem for fraudsters who use African Traditional Religions as a tool to deceive, recruit and initiate people into devilish acts in the name of culture. These unconscionable masterminds of this evil are steadily inflicting fatal wounds on the cherished values of our people. With the false impression that African cultures and religions are about fetishistic mundane practices, they portray Africa in a bad light and enthrone the worst in our natures and cultures as the ideals and reality of our respective socio-cultural ethos.

In so doing, these conmen give the impression that there is no connection between wealth and work. In other words, fortune is struck by charms or by chance. Since chance is beyond human control, they present charm as the only plausible means of attaining success and victory. In consequence, such an irresponsible principle pollutes the social milieu of our youth, creating an existential horizon that permits fetishistic practices and fraudulent acts. With the severance of the umbilical cord that ties success and wealth to work, many youth genuinely believe that the devil gives access to fortune and wealth and, therefore, these youth grow indifferent to Christianity. The youth are being recruited to be in a new love with paganism, fetish ritualism and abandonment of the noble values that sustained society for ages upon ages. Thus, fetish ritualism is gripping the youth, and a remedy needs to come quickly. Ordinarily, humans of all social contexts and moral suasions desire success and progress. Because of the Judeo-Christian moral infrastructure that has girded Nigerian society for decades, citizens are influenced to think and act from the moral ecosystem that appreciates success as the fruit of diligent effort and hard work. But all those are breaking down, given the new reality.

It is ordinarily presumed that each epoch has enough headaches to engage its spiritual, intellectual and social resources. Yet, some epochs face more significant challenges. In this brave new world, there are too many challenges for comfort. The crisis of truth and faith is confronted with the crisis of love and hope, and ultimately, there is the crisis of man that is getting serious. In this techno-ideological horizon of artificial intelligence, the world seems to be dealing with the rudimentary stage of trans-humanism. The blurring of sexual differences that confuses maleness and femaleness is on the ascendance. Apart from these challenges that are being confronted and confuted, the resurgence of the crude and sinister traditional religious practices and their gripping promises is scary and calls for urgent action. What can be done to alleviate, if not eradicate completely, the incessant ritual killings and the urge to make quick money by our youth? What can be done to return the youth to Christ?

A few of these points might inspire us to think critically about adequate home-grown solutions for each context. The Church has to be intentional about evangelisation, especially for the youth, culture, and digital space. The Church must be missionary and evangelical in all her words and acts. Parishes and all sodalities and groups in the Church should rethink their programmes to prioritise winning souls for Christ, especially young people. Families should understand their primary responsibility of training their children and wards in the ways of the Lord in such a way as to own it. Programmes should be designed to promote the faith and to counter its negative portrayal.

In addition, the right path to success should be inculcated in the youth, which is growing organically to achieve their purpose—those who grow last while those who blow fizzle out. It is imperative for the Church, families, and the government to take decisive action to combat the influence of these conmen and steer the youth back towards the path of righteousness and moral integrity. By inculcating the correct values, emphasising the dignity of labour, and promoting skilful, diligent talent development and prudent resource deployment, we can guide the youth towards genuine development and progress. In addition, liberating themselves from the grip of peer pressure and the slavery of pleasure and seeing reality as it is, not through the prism of the fake life on social media, will help them achieve true success. While families and Churches take seriously their responsibilities of formation and education in character, the government should also play a role by ensuring adherence to the rule of law. Through these concerted efforts, we can contribute to saving the youth from the menace of these fetish doctors, who are conmen in the name of gods.

Fr George Adimike

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