In Africa, snakes worship has been part of some tribe’s tradition and culture, which has been there right from history. Notwithstanding the arrival of westernization, which outdated most of these practices in some places while few still held firm to the tradition, keep it as sacred as it should.
In Nigeria, there are few parts like the Idemili people of Anambra, the Nembe people of Bayelsa, some parts of Imo State, and the Machina people of Yobe.
The worship of snakes in Machina, a Local Government Area of Yobe State, Northeastern part of Nigeria, is a revered tradition. They believe and acknowledge that snakes are part of their royal line as being seen on occasions like mourning and rest that involves the royal family.
300 kilometers to the North of Damaturu (the capital of Yobe) is where Machina is situated. In an interview with the Emir, Alhaji Bashir Albishir Buka Machinama (Dr, OON) on the origin of the sacredness of snakes in their town, and the repercussion that follows the violation, in his Palace.
According to the story, one of the wives of the then Emir reportedly gave birth to a child and a snake which stayed more than three days in the Palace but crawled back in the rocks close to the Palace after seeing how stressful their activities are. It was believed that as the human generation goes on, so does theirs too.
The Emir explained that there must be a sight of Python whenever there is a celebration around the Palace. On e its repercussions, he gave an example of a young man who killed a snake he saw while clearing the farmland with his dad. He was said to develop severe shivering as he was rushed back home. His house was flocked with snakes before the Emir’s father was reached, and he summoned the young man who interceded, made sacrifices, and gave him medicine, and he got better weeks later and went back to his house. He further stressed that whenever that period comes yearly, the man would be sick and require the same medicine to feel okay again. Put
Reaffirming his point on why harming the snakes should be avoided, he explained a man from Jigawa that his father hired to operate the tractor. After settling in Machina with his pregnant wife, he married a woman from the town, making it two. On one unfortunate afternoon, a snake entered their house while shouting, the wife from Machina assured them of safety, but the first wife boiled water by the husband’s instruction, which they poured on the snake. After giving birth, the little girl grew up a sicklier but lived for 18 years until death.
Although in Machina not Snakes are sacred, which implies that some dangerous snakes could be killed with no curse, no fuss. According to the Emir, mistakenly killing a sacred snake attracts light judgment, unlike killing it intentionally.
Once upon a time, the fence surrounding the Palace fell, and it was erected without creating a passage hole for snakes. The wall kept on collapsing until the passage was created, and the wall re-elected before it stood firm.
Do you think Machina should maintain this tradition or do away with it?