Shout out to all my readers who went to the posh secondary schools (high school), where you are served breakfast in bed and your laundry is done for you. I went to the kind of school where you are woken up with some lashes of a cane that is better reserved for cattle. Flogging in Nigeria is not child abuse except it causes injuries of course, and the security forces make it a point of duty to release some strokes on those who dare to disobey them.
I remember a close friend of mine who was quite pampered as a boy. He was a passenger on a motorcycle one day, when a policeman stopped the rider for some mysterious traffic violation. My friend decided to impress it on the cop that there had been no violation when they proceeded to flog the poor bike rider. Before you could say ‘Jack’, they let my friend also ‘enjoy’ 2 strokes of the cane. He was so taken unaware, he stood there with his mouth hanging open until they told him to leave or face worse. Yes, he thought of taking the matter up but, I told him to let it go as we are yet to put in place structures that will ensure that such officers are brought to book.
I am sure by now you’re wondering what the flogging is all about. Stick with me please. My Nigerian readers may know of the local remedy for seizures or convulsions. When a child fits, his parents will hold his feet to fire, rub palm oil on his face and so on. Their intention is not to hurt but to heal him. Adults who convulse are usually flogged thoroughly, spoons are forced into their mouths and in some parts of the country, their toes are pinched very hard.
On this day, a young man was brought in wearing only his boxers, unconscious, with unidentifiable substances pasted all over his body. The group of young men who brought him laid him on the examining table but refused to leave so I could take over. While the nurse was trying to usher them out, I attempted to get the history. He had suffered some sort of illness which he was treating with herbs and tablets purchased at a drug store (chemist in Nigerian parlance). That evening he was chatting with friends outside his house when he suddenly fell to the ground, convulsing and foaming at the mouth. They got some canes and flogged him, stuck a spoon between his teeth and pasted herbal concoctions all over him. This was not in a village but in a city considered the state capital. While trying to revive him, I observed that one of his friends was standing there pinching his toes very hard. I could actually feel how painful it was. He refused to leave despite all my entreaties and the security personnel were occupied with keeping the rest of the croud out. I decided to save the guy’s life first and deal with the “Pincher” later. This was because he was not budging and the patient was slipping away.
About an hour later, it was obvious that he was sleeping calmly and not unconscious. I asked the pincher why he wouldn’t let go and he said the guy’s spirit was slipping away and it was his pinching that kept him from dying.
“How about the flogging?” I asked.
“That was so as to destroy the evil spirit causing the convulsion”
“Now will you let go of him? You can see he is breathing evenly and his temperature is normal. Don’t you think he’s had enough?”
Reluctantly, he released his toes and left. I placed the patient on pain relievers and asked to be informed when he woke up. Few hours later, I was told he was awake and asking to see me.
“Good evening”, I greeted. “How do you feel?”
“I’m in pains, Doctor. Who flogged me?” he asked. “I have aches all over and my toes reallyhurt. Like someone cut me with a knife”
I pointed out which of his friends had flogged him, especially the Pincher. He still would not give me the credit for saving his friend.
“Why did you guys inflict injuries on me?” he asked
. “Ol’ boy you nearly died o! We did what we had to do”
I proceeded to give a lecture on how to manage convulsion and I will give you a few tips.
1. See a doctor if you have a fever and don’t self-medicate. All fever is not caused by malaria.
2. If someone is convulsing, clear the room of harmful objects
3. Let him lie on his left side if possible.
4. Do not put hard substances in his mouth (the man in my story had serious injuries in his mouth)
5. Do not flog, burn, pinch or apply any substance on him.
6. Rush him to the closest hospital after he has stopped convulsing where there is no ambulance. Don’t move him while it is happening.
Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood” That means that you cannot use a physical weapon to drive out a spirit. No cane is powerful enough for the devil, neither can fire burn him. You cannot pinch evil spirits. Let wisdom guide your choices as together we inform and educate those we love. Be blessed.