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Religion has turned many Nigerians into rambling psychopaths. From the raving mad Islamists who ravaged an entire northeastern geopolitical zone of the federal republic to a deluded band of Obafemi Awolowo University students who withdrew into the deep tropical forest to wait for the world to come to an end or to the traditionalists who exhume corpses for rituals of fortune, religion has done great damage to the cerebral tissues of many of our citizens. But this is not a recent development. As far back as 1961, Edidem Bassey was worshipped by many as Christ. Nigerian history is not complete without the numerous bizarre stories that are always woven with faiths. Today, I present to you the most notorious story of a bloody encounter between a Nigerian prophet and an African beast.
It all happened in 1991 when visitors both far and near had come to the zoological garden in the University of Ibadan to have fun and see a wide array of animals comprising of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles.
Prophet Daniel was also present but rather for a different purpose – to put to test the word of God. Basically, he had arrived at the zoo to recreate the biblical story of his namesake Daniel who was thrown into the lions’ den without getting attacked.
Pastor Abodunrin donned a flowing red robe and clutched his big Holy Bible. As he made his way for the lion enclosure, alarmed zoo keepers shouted and warned him (some other records stated that he sneaked in and it all happened very fast while another version has it that he managed to convince one of the zoo keepers to allow him enter and let God demonstrate signs and wonders saying that the God of Daniel is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow).
One thing was clear: Abodunrin did not listen to any of those warning him. Terrified families who were enjoying their picnic looked on with a bewildering mixture of shock and terror. He made it into the enclosure of the lions and stared at them. The lions stared back at him. It was a most discomforting sight for everyone, including the lions. Devout Christians in the crowd were waiting to see a faith-enhancing miracle while some others toughened their minds for the bloodiest drama of the century.
Abodunrin did not stop chanting Bible verses and speaking in tongues, wriggling his body under the robes, providing what was the spectacle of the year for everyone in the zoo. Here was a man in a flowing red robe, armed with nothing but a large Bible, approaching some of the fiercest creatures on earth. When Abodunrin jumped into the lions’ cage, the lions moved into a tense retreat. Abodunrin stepped closer.
He seemed determined to cow the lions and turn them into goats. He felt he possessed all the heavenly authority and spiritual powers to summon angels to weaken the lions. Abodunrin kept chanting Bible verses, making gestures at the lions and commanding them to be still. He was calling on the God of Daniel who saved the prophet in Babylon to show awesome power. As he made a final approach towards the lions, what happened next was…
In a flash, the lions lifted their massive bodies and charged at Abodunrin. The Bible flew away and he landed with a thud. A bitter struggle ensued and the terrified crowd could not believe the scene before their eyes. It seemed everyone was too confused or fixated to even do anything.
Pastor Abodunrin could not believe his eyes and as the lions landed on him, the look of terror in his eyes could only be better imagined. In a matter of seconds, he was torn to shreds. He died on the spot and the lions snacked on his remains. A single, well-aimed bite from a lion is enough to kill an adult human being in a matter of seconds. Abodunrin’s red robe was redder with the splatter of his blood all over the place, his torn and bloodied Bible in one corner of the lions’ cage.