The Nigerian Herbalists/Traditionalists Group of Nigeria has been accused of allowing some politicians and wealthy Nigerians infiltrate its ranks by allowing them use some of their followers to perpetrate various atrocities.
A senior member of the group, Chief Williams Ibeke, based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, in a chat with THISDAY last weekend, lamented that some herbalists had abandoned the ethics of their art by doing the bidding of some unscrupulous politicians and criminals disguising as cult members, across the country.
The group which was founded in 2008 to salvage the declining fortunes of Nigerian traditions is slipping away from the path, he bemoaned.
“We have discussed this problem times without number in our various meetings across the country; that herbalists are supposed to be guided by the dictates of the oracle and not that of dubious politicians and criminals wearing the cloak of cult members.
“Look at the last election; how so many political thugs who were arrested were found with debilitating charms, which of course must have been prepared for them by some herbalists and charmers.
“The same goes for the various cult groups across the country, who use charms to destabilise their victims or try to escape justice,” Ibeke lamented.
He said it was unfortunate that the herbalists’ association had now been hijacked by some politicians and power-seeking, wealthy Nigerians.
He said the authentic, incorruptible herbalists in the country had since withdrawn to the drawing board, with a view to finding a lasting solution to the problem.
Ibeke added that herbalists in the country were willing to give full support to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, in its quest to fully stamp out corruption and stabilise the economy in the next four years.
On the forced initiation of young educated Nigerians into native cult practices as a way of inheritance, the herbalists’ leader said, “we do the bidding of the oracles handed down to us by our forefathers; it is the oracle that picks those who should succeed their fathers or uncles in native herbal practice, and anybody who defies such a directive does so at his /her own peril.
“We serve as guiding lights to our children by making them understand why they must not allow our traditions to die. We have been silent for long and we will not allow further eclipse of our traditions”