Ntu! Nail! I whispered
Nail? Which nail? Nneoma asked.
Akuwara nwatakiri ntu n’isi! Chai! Chineke! I said.
Long nail, I whispered they drilled a long nail into a girls head! They say she should confess that she is a witch!
Chineke! Nneoma screamed before covering her mouthy. We are still in the hospital
Nne! We need to start planning your redeployment from this community! I said.
I saw a lot of children on the floor in chains, they looked unhealthy and were in pains. They all looked hungry and unkempt with sunken teary eyes and big heads. I then sat on the front row to observe proceedings.
One after the other the Prophet’s assistants brought each child to the front of the Alter and they began to flog the child with horse whip! These children are less than five years old! What does a five year old baby knows Nne?
Confess! Confess! They were telling the children as they brutalized them! Who killed your grandmother? Who killed your uncle? They asked the Child! Who killed your mother? Who did this? Who did that? How many people have you bewitched? How many people have you killed? Who caused the stampede that killed fifteen people at the stadium? Who wrecked your mothers business? Who inflicted your Aunty with cancer?
Stupid! Stupid questions they were asking those kids while peeling off their skin with koboko!
Nne! I could not contain what I was seeing. I was standing and seating as if I was the one being flogged. I was screaming with the children. I sat on the floor and got up. I was restless!
The lucky children were those that readily accepted to be withes and wizards and said yes to every question asked. Those were prayed for and the evil spirit exorcised after giving them certain concoction to drink and taken to a separate spot where they fall asleep.
The unlucky innocent Kids who did not admit to being witches or wizards where tortured until they passed out. Some actually became very limp and they were wrapped in black cotton and taken outside to be buried in shallow graves!
Nne! Immediately we leave here I am going to the police headquarter to file a complaint! This cannot go on!
The one that killed me was the case of a girl of about eight years old who was termed to be the most stubborn. Her parents had been killed in a fatal motor accident and she had refused to accept that she was the witch responsible for their deaths. So they plucked an electric stove in a socket by the Alter and when it was red hot, they stripped her of her clothes and held her face down. The prophet then unplugged the stove and pressed the red surface on this girls buttocks and her back! Nne! I did not know which was louder! My scream or the girls. She screamed until she passed out. The hall was smelling like where suya is being prepared.
When I saw that she was unconscious, I ran towards her to help but I was restrained by some heavily built men that wore black on black. They were sitting at the back of the church so I did not notice them earlier. They warned me to behave properly and reminded me of what is written beneath the statute of Jesus on the Alter.
These Children cannot be witches! I cried. It’s not possible!
Are you a stranger here? One of the stout men asked me.
Of course yes! I replied. Can’t you see I am a Corper?
But we have Corpers here too nah. None of them would behave like this. Look! If these children deal with you ehn? You will understand why their family brought them here for deliverance.
My God! Is this deliverance? I asked no one in particular as I sought for answers in the faces of the few adults present in the church but no one seem to notice me. None of them even flinched at the treatment these children were receiving.
While I was still complaining, they brought another girl forward, a girl of about five. The girl’s mother was brought forward on a wheel chair, she had been undergoing treatment in the church because they brought her from another room adjacent to the Alter. When they opened the door to that room, I saw people lying on mattresses. Then the door was immediately shut.
It was evident that this woman was suffering from breast cancer because of the obvious symptoms all over her. Her chest was bare showing a decomposing breast smeared with substance supposed to be medicine. Her hair was falling off and only few strands still remained, her skin was tight and scaly. She needed to have been in a hospital and not here! They pushed the woman to the center of the church and brought the scared girl close to her.
Who did this to your mother? Prophet asked the girl. Confess now! Confess!
The little girl started to cry calling Mummy! Mummy! Stretching forth her hands to her sick mother but the mother shrunk from the little girl and spat on her face. Mummy! Mummy! The little girl cried as the Prophet assistants grabbed her and began to flog her all over. Her clothes were pulled off. The prophet again unplugged the stove and began to jab the girl with it all over her body. My bladder gave way, my stomach became crampy and I began to vomit, what came out of my mouth tasted so bitter and it was slimy. I had not eaten. The macho men in black quickly pushed me out of the church so I could clean up. I saw a Tap near the fence so I went there to wash up.
After washing up I stood outside thinking, I was confused as though I was in a dream. It was then I heard the sound of hammer on nail followed immediately by the most horrifying scream I have ever heard in life. I rushed into the church again only to see the prophet chanting incantations and hitting a long nail into the head of this five year old girl who was held down the prophet’s assistance! I held my head and fell, I felt as if it was my head that was being nailed. That is all I can remember Nneoma.
THE END………This is still going on in some communities in Nigeria!