Ebola: How the Prescription of a King in Kogi State Sparked the Scramble for Salt-Water Bath
Nigerians woke up to a speculation on Friday morning that a bath of a mixture of salt and water is capable of protecting them from contracting the deadly Ebola virus which has so far claimed the lives of about 1000 persons in West Africa, one of which was the death of Patrick Sawyer who flew into the country into the country from Liberian as well as one of the nurses who attended to him when he fell sick upon arrival.
Since the news of the salt-water remedy broke, many Nigerians in spite of the warning by the Federal Government that bathing with salted water is not a cure for the deadly Ebola Virus have resorted to the therapy.
Many people have even gone beyond bathing with the salt-water to drinking it without the consideration of the health hazards. As a result, two persons have died and 20 others hospitalised in Jos as a following the heavy consumption of salt.
The source of the salt-water solution as a remedy to the Ebola virus has however being traced to the traditional ruler of Igala Kingdom, the Attah of Igala, His Royal Majesty, Idakwo Michael Ameh Oboni II. The king reportedly prescribed the salt-water solution as a magical vaccine against the Ebola virus.
Local radio and TV stations in Kogi state quoted the monarch, the Attah of Igala, Idakwo Michael Ameh Oboni, late Thursday, as making the prescriptions from his palace in Idah, the traditional capital of Igalaland.
According to local report, the monarch prescribed that a pinch of salt be added to about 15 litres of water and used for a soapless bath.
The prescription by the royal father was reinforced after claims that a Catholic priest, Ejike Mbaka, also asked his followers to perform some religious rituals which included drinking salt water.
Although, the king’s prescription was originally intended for people of the Igala Kingdom, it quickly went viral on social media and text messaging platforms, while relatives and family friends exchanged telephone calls advising one another to bath with salt-water solution.
Though the rate at which the prescription was accepted could be as a result of ignorance and the battle to do all that is necessary to stay alive, the folks from the Igala Kingdom have no problem accepting the prescription by their kings following a mystical lineage associated with the king.
Little wonder why the king’s “magical prescription” was received with great enthusiasm by residents panicked by the spread of the virus.
The use of the remedy has spread all trough Nigeria. From the Igala Kingdom where the prescription was made, Nigerians in Lokoja, Maiduguri, Kaduna, Jos and many more cities have taken the salt-water bath.
The Attah of Igala, Idakwo Michael Ameh Oboni, is believed to have mystical powers, inherited from his father, Attah Ameh Oboni, who is regarded – in the kingdom – to be as powerful as some unknown gods.
The elder Attah Oboni is revered for his stiff resistance of Britain during the colonial era, and the Sultanate, which tried to annex Igalaland as part of the largely muslim Sokoto caliphate.
The late king’s subjects also have fond memories of his struggles in protecting the ancient traditions of the Igalas, as well as asserting himself, in the face of pressures to substitute his influence in Igala Kingdom with colonial rule.
He reportedly fought with magical powers.
He is believed to have committed suicide in 1957 after he got intelligence the British colonial government planned to depose and exile him.
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