The belief in African spirituality has been an age-old activity for many people in Africa. During the olden days, our ancestors fortified their homes with amulets, bracelets, and incantations believed to be a language exalting the gods and goddesses of our ancestors. Even though the percentage of belief in the traditional ways of life had dwindled with time, there are still ardent traditionalists out there. My next-door neighbor will splash eggs and sprinkle salt on our doorstep because they were suspiciously directives from a witch doctor. You can call them shaman, herbalists, voodooists, and any of the sort. Fun Fact: The neighbor is of the notion that my family is also involved with dark art.
A huge score of the African population holds the belief in the supernatural. Unfortunately, the constant reverence of African Traditional Religions has also motivated a series of crimes across the continent. Ritual killings and albino hunting are perfect examples.
Gbenga Adewoyin is a Nigerian content creator with an atheistic perspective. The 24-year-old has assumed a top-notched confrontation towards spirituality in the highly religious nation of Nigeria.
Capacitated with a sharp knife, a megaphone, and appearing in an all-black outfit, the young man sets foot into the land of controversies. In a market in the southwestern city of Ibadan, you can hear him loudly throwing a challenge. “Anyone that can provide any evidence for the existence of the supernatural, be it juju or voodoo magic, will be offered 2.5m naira ($6,000),” Gbenga Adewoyin announced in both Yoruba and English.
Many Nigerians believe that magic charms can allow humans to shapeshift into cats, protect the naked skin from penetrable objects, and make money appear in a clay pot. These accepted beliefs have spawned killings within the country.
In an interview with the BBC, Gbenga said, “I feel horrible to see young people engage in these ritual killings. If money ritual worked, we would have seen massive inflation in the economy for the decades that we have believed in it.”
In case you wonder why he possesses a knife, it is used for anyone that claims their juju makes them impenetrable.
However, Gbenga Adewoyin’s questioning the existence of supernatural powers is considered taboo within the geographical route of Nigeria. His public expression in what many may see as ridicule could invite blasphemy and physical attacks from passersby. It is a risky trail. Nevertheless, Mr. Adewoyin seems not to give in to the potential threats. His appearance in Ibadan, Oyo State, is the second of three planned in-country tours offering 2.5m naira to anyone that can publicly demonstrate their juju powers.
The belief in magic has been dubbed satanic and diabolic. Many pastors have become rich and famous on claims of having supernatural powers that can disperse the effects of juju and evil curses. These are nuances opposed by Adewoyin.
So far, Gbenga Adewoyin is having an easy time at the office. No single individual has taken up his challenge at two of the venues in Ogun and Ibadan. He is expected to make his next stop in Anambra State in the southeastern part of the country.
The normalized existential threat of ritual killings in Nigeria has prompted different shades of opinion. The upsetting images of bodies found with missing limbs and plucked eyes are shreds of evidence that some aspects of the population uphold the opinionated idea in black magic.
Gbenga Adewoyin approaches this topic from practical action. He believes that Nigeria’s educational system has failed to persuade people that juju and the supernatural are not real. He believes that his courageous tour to challenge these notions from people he deemed fraudsters claiming the supernatural powers of juju, could help put an end to the spate of rituals.
“For a reasonable human being to believe that a human with all his biological components can turn to yam or banana is illogical, and worrisome,” he said.