Manhood thieves and terror of magical thinking in Nigeria
This was recently the case in Madalla Market in Suleja Local Government near Abuja. A local mob beat up a person for stealing another man’s manhood. Stealing manhood?
It is difficult to comprehend how this absurd claim still makes sense to a segment of the Nigerian population to the extent of provoking violent reactions. As reported in the Daily Trust, the suspect pretended to be buying some fairly used clothes and in the process had body contact with a passerby.
The passer-by claimed that the manhood had disappeared. And in reaction, some people descended on the man and beat him terribly.
The suspect denied stealing the manhood but later confessed to the act. That was after he had been beaten. According to the report, the suspect performed some ritual and the manhood was restored.
A local vigilante group reportedly conveyed the suspect and the alleged victim to a local police station. A police officer claimed that the suspect would be charged to court but did not specify the crime for which he would be prosecuted. Meanwhile, the manhood of the alleged victim was intact when they came to the police station.
Cases of manhood thieves feature in the media, often without any critical perspective. Suspects are often beaten or lynched by the mob. Sometimes the police intervene but only to save and protect the suspects from the lynch mob. No further action is taken to arrest and prosecute those behind the false accusations or mob actions. No measures are taken to reason Nigerians out of this irrational beliefs and superstition.
Those who beat up suspected manhood thieves are those to be arraigned. They should be tried and sentenced, in order to serve as deterrence to others. By refusing to prosecute the alleged victim of manhood theft and the perpetrators of jungle justice, the police are sending very wrong signals to the public. They make it seem as if those who make claims of magical theft of manhood have no case to answer; that the perpetrators of mob action are on the side of the law.
While in actual fact, they are not. There is no evidence that a person’s manhood can disappear or be stolen through magical means. Those who make such claims are greatly mistaken and should be educated. Those who beat up suspected manhood thieves are real criminals. They should be made to answer for their crimes.
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