I just encountered a man advertising herbal remedies during my journey in a Lagos bus. Over here in Lagos it’s a normal thing. The unforgiving sunshine that blazed pure rage of heat made this Lagos journey a heated up experience. It was mid-day, as I boarded a rickety J5 yellow bus at a bus park along First Gate bus stop, Ojo local government. My journey would be a two hour ride to Ikeja. The park, by the way, is just a corner of the road converted by touts in order to extort money from bus drivers.
As the bus sped off, one of the passengers, who introduced himself as Innocent, stood up to advertise some locally prepared drugs and a 12 page, A5 sized black and white booklet, wrapped in a coloured cover. The book contained recipes for his herbal remedies. After so much stories, Innocent announced the price tag for his booklet as #500.00 ( Five hundred naira, almost a dollar). I personally felt the price was very expensive. Usually, such booklets go for #200.00. So I decided not to patronise. Despite my reluctance to buy his booklet, Innocent had solve ten copies already. That was a cool #10,000.00 in less than an hour!
Innocent, who claimed to be a graduate of Botany, said he got his herbal knowledge from his late grandfather. It was obvious that the passengers from the bus were intrigued by this young man’s oratory who appeared to be in his early forties. He seemlessly delved from one remedy to another, employing local names of herbs in both Yoruba and Ibo parlance.
Do these local remedies really work?
Good question, wouldn’t you say?
Nigeria is a country whose health care system is in absolute shambles. The current president, Muhammadu Buhari, cannot even rely on the country’s health care. I personally believe the man dreads the health care system in the country and Is at a loss on what to do about it. The testimony to this fact reared its ugly head after Buhari’s recent medical trip to the United Kingdom, in the backdrop of medical doctors’ strike. Impeccable timing for the old man! This action has sparked off so much criticism both locally and in diaspora.
In a country such as Nigeria, of course, the alternative is traditional herbal concoctions. If the responses from the passengers in this ‘danfo’ bus is anything to go by, then this is a screamer that most Nigerians trust herbal remedy more than Western drugs.
Innocent’s attempt at advertising his herbal products and book on herbal remedies just sparked off a desire to write about herbal remedies in Nigeria. Please watch out for this on Ovasabi blog. By the way, what’s your take on herbal remedies? Can you 100% rely on herbal remedies? Kindly share your opinion.
I thought I should chip in this one: I just spent two hours in traffic and I’m yet halfway to my destination.
Watch this video, this brings you closer to how Lagosians experience herbal drug peddlers in buses.