In Africa, there is a general belief in mystical powers that protect the bearer against bullets in times of insecurity. African bulletproof, as is often referred to, is believed to shield those who wear the amulets or drink the concoction prepared by native doctors against bullets and to some extent machete cuts.
Many Nigerians are resolute in this charm and trust its effectiveness. It is evident in movies churned out from the West African economic powerhouse’s actors and characters fortifying themselves to withstand the force of any modern weaponry.
It’s called Odeshi, literally meaning in Nigeria’s Igbo language that it does not leak or it would not leak, simply saying a bullet would not penetrate those who are under the protection of this charm. It has existed since the Igbo people migrated to their present abode.
Odeshi to many Igbos in Nigeria is a protective charm. It is prepared by native doctors who use natural herbs and other charms as directed by the spirits. Odeshi is believed to be a gift from the creator Chukwu Okike as he is referred to in Igbo. The bearers of Odeshi cease to be men when they are fortified and assume invincibility from Chukwu Okike.
The bearer of Odeshi is immune to bullets, machete cuts and every other weapon that’s believed can lead to loss of life.
However, the bearer of this charm is expected to lead a life without blemish and must follow certain rules as prescribed by traditional healers to make the charm effective.
In the olden days, users of this charm were not expected to fornicate to make the charm potent. But, one rule is clear, Odeshi must not be used for evil or abused.
In their book on African religion and culture, Dr. Ikechukwu Anthony Kanu and two other academics said there are stories of protective powers which make one indestructible when shot at. He explained that such charms are considered spiritual bulletproof to resist gun fires or the powers to see into the future.
According to him, in some instances the charms enable these individuals to disappear in the face of danger or at the point of being arrested by law enforcement agencies.
Citing an example, Dr. Kanu said a Kenyan soldier once showed off his black magic while shooting himself and emerged unscathed by the bullets he fired at himself. He said the soldier claimed that even an AK-47 assault rifle could not penetrate any part of his body when fired by an enemy.
He indicated that many of the youth vigilantes in Nigeria rely on this array of charms and juju which they wear around their bodies when engaging in acts of violence.
Dr. Kanu pointed out that the recognition of the existence of these powers is an important aspect in many religious sects and cultures in Nigeria and as a matter of fact, African people.
He explained that it stems from man’s desire from time immemorial to tap into the mystical powers in the universe and use them to his advantage.