Recently, a bricklayer in Osun state named Rasheed Sulaiman was shot dead while testing the potency of a bullet-proof charms.
According to a witness, Rasheed called his cousin to follow him to a secluded place to test the talisman. Then after he wore the Bullet-Proof Charms, he gave a gun to his cousin to fire at him. The cousin fired a shot and killed him instantly.
YNaija spoke with two native doctors to find out what they think about talismans and their potency based on their experience in the practice.
One of them named Yemi says in vernacular, “Talismans work, but some people don’t use it in the prescribed way. It’s like using a medicine without following the instructions.
“When we make a talisman for a patron, we tell them how to use it. But when the patron doesn’t follow, they don’t get the desired result.”
“There is usually one or more conditions for using the charm. If you don’t observe the precaution, it would lose its potency. For example, they may be told not to drink alcohol or eat a certain food. But some people fail to observe the condition. They may have forgotten, because somehow the forbidden thing or act will continue to fall in their way. So when they break the condition, they become vulnerable. That was how one ‘strong’ man in this community was tricked and killed. The plotters learned the condition that kept his talisman effective, and they tricked him to break it unknowingly. Then they killed him.”
“Also, the Bullet-Proof Charms may be fake or may not be well done by the native doctor.”
“Even if they are effective at first, charms don’t work forever. You have to continue to renew it or it will become ineffective in time.”
“However, there is a proverb that says a charm saves a day, but God saves all days. Sometimes the patron uses the talisman as told and also keeps all the conditions. But fate causes the talisman to fail. God knows best about this.”
Junaid, the other native doctor, adds in vernacular, “Charms don’t work when you deliberately test them on yourself. For example, you have a charm to protect from accidents then you see a truck coming at full speed and you go and stand in the way. The charm will fail. But if it happens by chance, then you can be protected.”
“Also, if you have a charm, you don’t brag about it or open up to people. It’s like a person who goes out to tell people about the security system in his house. You’re no more secure.”
Yemi adds, “It also depends on the individual. Some charms work well for some but not for others. It is like using a medicine. Two people can use the same medicine and it will work for one person and not the other.”
Junaid explains more, “Some people use talismans because of the kind of work they do. Some people work in security or law enforcement, and they need to protect themselves from danger. For some people, it is a custom inherited from their forefathers. I know of a family where all the members are charmed from childhood.”
Yemi believes that native doctors do not use humans as guinea pigs. He says, “We have safe ways of testing charms before giving to patrons. For a bulletproof amulet, we may test it on an animal. If it is not hurt, then the charm will be effective on a human, since the animal is a living being just as a human is a living being.”
Junaid says further, “These days, a lot of native doctors are looking for what they will eat. Most are fake, and some simply do a sloppy job. They do not bother to check if a certain charm will work for the person or not. Some dishonest ones know that the thing will not work for a person or in a certain circumstance, but when they see that the patron has money to spend, they go on anyway.
“The rule of thumb for a native doctor is that if you don’t test it or you’re not sure it will work as desired, you don’t administer it. Deaths or accidents can be prevented when charms are administered by a native doctor ethically and used by a patron in the right way.”