The Nation - Friday, August 26, 2016 is a date that will linger in the memories of Mr. Samuel Onwuegbuchelam Igbokwe and members of his family. It was the night an 18-ft python invaded their premises at No 21, Okoye Street in Oke-Afa part of Isolo, Lagos and were only saved by the timely intervention of neighbours. But that was not until the mystery invader had swallowed two goats from a pen operated by the family.
While the family had had some unpleasant experiences with reptiles before the fateful day, they never imagined the rough encounter they had with the uninvited guest.
The family’s residence is a three-bedroom bungalow with two other rooms attached. Although the unpainted, weather-beaten building is located in an area one would consider a developed part of Lagos, it has a sub- urban ambience with patches of algae on its walls.
Between the building and the undeveloped part of the plot to the right is a pen built with Indian bamboo where the family rare goats. Beside the pen also is a poultry. The building faces a swampy, undeveloped mass of land that boasts a couple of trees and shrubs. The other sides of the building are fully or partially developed plots of land. The marshy land opposite the building is covered with green leaves that make it difficult for a stranger to realise its swampy nature.
Igbokwe and members of his family friends who had a sharp cutlass. I called him to bring the cutlass; he came and asked that we should show him where the snake was.”
As it is usual with a python that had swallowed matured animals, this time male and female goats, it was not expected to put up any serious fight. But this was not the case. The python sensed danger and reacted.
Igbokwe continued: “Sensing danger, the python immediately vomited the two goats it had swallowed, raised its head high and got ready for a fight. It was unusual. A natural python ought not be able to vomit what it had swallowed but this one vomited the two goats. We strategised and decided to divert its attention. The person with the sharp machete stood behind it while we went to its front to draw it out. While it was facing us, the person with the sharp cutlass cut off its head.”
Asked whether the python saw what they were doing, Igbokwe said: “Yes, it did. It was coming to us. Understand that it was still within the pen. The pen is big. We used bamboo to prepare it. It was something we could see inside from the outside, but there was no way a snake that big could enter that place. It is still a mystery.
“The question now is, how did it enter? It did not destroy any part of the fence. So, having diverted its attention, the man that struck it with a machete could not kill it with one strike. It was the second machete blow that removed its head. We also cut off its tail and then brought it out.
“People may not know, but after we killed the snake, something mysterious happened in our church the next day, which was on a Sunday.
“On that Sunday, I got some people to help me clear the area. It is not as if the place was bushy, because I always try to as much as possible clear the grass around my compound. And every night, we make bonfire to drive away reptiles.
“However, since we moved in here over eight years ago, we had never seen even a small snake. So, that Sunday, I called some people to help me clear the grasses even beyond my property.
“Many would say there is possibility of big snakes since there are some bushes around my property. It is possible. But the question also arises: how did it get into the goat pen? I believe it is a mystery. A python of that large size cannot go through that bamboo. There was no damage or break whatsoever on any part of the pen to show that this was the entry point.
“Then, on Sunday when we went to the church, I didn’t go because I had called some people to clear the surrounding grasses. My wife was the one who called me and told me that there was a preacher from Calabar who said that God gave him a message to a family in Lagos and he was directed to our church.
“The church overseer initially did not allow him to preach, since he was a stranger. The preacher said he was in our church because he had a message for a family. When he mounted the pulpit during prophetic time, he asked of Samuel.
“Initially, some other people came out with our family members, but zeroed it down to us. According to him, the python was sent to kill two people in my family, a man and a woman. He said it was God that intervened.”
Asked why he believed it was not an ordinary python since there were bushes around the area with a swampy topography, Igbokwe said it was not the first time he had experienced such an attack here in Lagos.
He said: “Naturally, it is easy for people to assume such. Let us, for the purpose of this discussion, assume that it was a normal python from the swamp that came to attack and swallow the goats, how about the one that almost attacked at my wife’s shop? That was some years back at Transformer Bus Stop, Bucknor. There is no bush around the shop.
“Go there and make your investigation. That happened some years back, around 5.30 pm. It is verifiable. I am giving the exact location so that people can do their independent verification. Where did that python come from?”
Igbokwe said he and his family serve a living God and that in the realm of the spirit, there is a law of substitution that anybody digging any pit for him and his family will invariably fall inside, since he has not offended anyone.