A Nigerian man says he is on the hunt for people who can transform into cats.
Gbenga Adewoyin, a 24-year-old atheist recently caused a stir when he walked around a market in the south-western Nigerian city of Ibadan with a megaphone and dressed in black shouting, “Anyone that can provide any evidence for the existence of the supernatural, be it juju or voodoo magic, will be offered 2.5m naira ($6,000, £4,650),” he announced repeatedly in Yoruba and English, according to a BBC News Africa report.
Onlookers gathered, then quickly dispersed when they heard Adewoyin’s message.
The 24-year-old atheist has recently emerged as a rebel, publicly contesting the powers of the supernatural in this deeply religious country.
Belief in African traditional religions and its juju components are widespread in Nigeria, with many combining them with either Christianity or Islam, according to a 2010 report by the Pew Research Centre, citing the BBC.
Many Nigerians believe that magic charms can allow humans to transform into cats, protect bare skin from sharp blades, and make money appear in a clay pot.
These beliefs are not only held by the uneducated, they exist even at the highest levels of Nigerian academia, writes The Bharat Express News.
According to Nigerian Factor.net, many Nigerians prefer having dogs as pets to cats because they think that cats are evil. Some think that cats are just witches, wizards, or demons taking the form of animals. They think likewise for other night-time animals such as owls and bats.
Jude Akanbi, senior lecturer at Crowther Graduate Theological Seminary in Abẹ́òkúta, is also unequivocal about juju, citing the website Nigerian Factor.
“This ability to be able to transform into [a] cat, disappearing and reappearing, these things are possible in the dynamics of African traditional religion.
“Although it sounds illogical, like old wives’ tales, but from what we’ve seen and heard, these things are possible,” he said.