Monday 6 September 2021



An introduction ceremony in the Yoruba tradition is a day where the family of a fiancé visits the family of his fiancée for a  formal introduction.

After the ceremony, it is deemed that the fiancé and fiancée are ‘legally’ engaged and marriage plans can then be fixed.

Aderemi (not real name) fell into a depression on the day of her introduction ceremony.

While guests were seated in the living room awaiting the arrival of her fiancé and his family, she was responding to an SOS conversation. Her fiancé had called to call off their relationship.

When her mother realized that her daughter was taking too long in her room, she decided to check on her and found her slumped on the ground.

Chaos! Havoc! Pandemonium!

Two weeks after this incident, her widowed mother visited me to ask for my advice about how to get her treated. She was aware that I was living with my parents while recuperating from a failed suicide attempt and going through my divorce proceedings.

She told me that her daughter had been given a break from work and was at home simply staring into space.

I advised her to register her daughter at any of the following psychiatric hospitals:

  1. Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja
  2. Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital,Yaba, Lagos State
  3. Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta, Ogun State

We agreed on LUTH and ended our conversation on a good note only for me to hear afterwards that she took her daughter to a white-garment church for spiritual cleansing.

The young lady was taken to a beach at night and beaten till her body peeled.

She had to agree to the interrogations by the prophet and his prayer warriors that she was totally free so that she could escape their spiritual fangs.

The situation got worse.

She decided to pack a few things and stayed with a friend for a few weeks. She felt better and was able to return to work.

Afterwards, she came home, packed her remaining things and bade farewell to her mother.

Her mother came back to ask us what she should do about her daughter who had clearly disowned her.

It is a waste of time to give this woman another piece of advice. It is too late.

So, why do many Nigerians feel that mental health problem is a spiritual problem?

David in Saul’s Service – 1 Samuel 14-23

14 Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul and an evil[a] spirit from the Lord tormented him.

15 Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. 16 Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the lyre. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes on you and you will feel better.”

17 So Saul said to his attendants, “Find someone who plays well and bring him to me.”

18 One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the Lord is with him.”

19 Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” 20 So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them with his son David to Saul.

21 David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much and David became one of his armor-bearers. 22 Then Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, “Allow David to remain in my service, for I am pleased with him.”

23 Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better and the evil spirit would leave him.

My problems with the above Bible passage are listed below:

1.   Why would God, who calls Himself, our father bring such a drastic sickness on one of His children for committing a sin?

2.   Why would he favour one child at the detriment of another (favouring David over Saul when it is clear that He is the one that made Saul to behave in such a manner)? Is he teaching us favouritism?

3.   Is this the reason why white-garment churches and indeed many Christians believe that mental health issues have roots in evil spirits and put the patients who ought to be loved and cared for through torture?

The only positive part of this passage is that music was able to soothe Saul and brighten up his mood.

Clearly, music therapy started from here.

It irks me when people tell mentally challenged people that evil spirits are tormenting them and that is the reason why they have mental health issues.

They call them sinners who need to atone for their sins and lock them up in churches and mosques to get help through series of prayers.

These children and adults are sexually molested by the people who were contracted to pray for them and they end up leaving these gas chambers with more problems than the ones that brought them there in the first place.

Why are Nigerians the only ones that are seeing evil spirits?!

In my opinion, religion has done more harm than good to humanity in this country and it keeps on getting worse.

Every day, Nigeria keeps getting dragged closer into a dungeon despite the existence of a million religious organizations in this nation but my people are too blind to realise it.

Countries with zero or less religions are doing better than Nigeria in terms of economic, scientific and technological developments but my people will go to church to pray for jobs inside once-upon-a-time factories-cum-churches.

How do we break away from this mentality?

As for me, humanity is my religion.

You may also read one of my blog posts titled: World Mental Health Day 2020

Read another story about another white-garment-church-beating from my brother-in-law in this two-part story, The One Way Street to Depression

Musically yours,

DJ Irawo

No comments: