In Machina Emirate, Nigeria, the killing of snakes is considered taboo. This is because they are considered royalty there, according to ancient history. Machina is a local government in Yobe state, which shares a border with Niger Republic. It is one of the 14 Emirates in the state. The Emir who is the 77th Mai, His Royal Highness Alhaji Dr. Bashir Albishir Bukar Machinama has been on the throne since 1998.
History has it that a queen in Machina Emirate once gave birth to twins, one human being and the other a snake. The snake retired into the rocks behind the Emir’s palace after staying with her for a while. This, therefore, makes him eligible to the throne, as he is considered a descendant of the ruling family.
The snake ultimately multiplied, giving rise to a generation of snakes with royal blood. The snakes are accorded all the privileges of royal princes in the emirate and are never killed. The snakes in turn partake in every activity in the palace. “When I got married to my younger wife, a snake came to the house and spent more than a week. The guests were afraid, but they were assured that the snake would not harm anybody. In the morning, it would come out and spread his body on the wall, then varnish in the afternoon. It would do the same thing in the evening and varnish. Even the bride was afraid, but she later became used to it. So the snakes are their relatives there in the palace, they don’t harm anybody in Machina,” The Emir was quoted as saying.
While this might be considered an abnormality elsewhere, to the residents of the Emirate, this is perfectly normal. The snakes socialize with the residents during any celebration and rarely cause any harm. One of the princes even sleeps on the same bed with the snakes! The children even pose for pictures with them, as they consider them brother while outsiders couldn’t. Even though they don’t play that much with them, they feed them milk and throw sacrifices for them.
Why It Is Not Allowed To Kill Snakes In Machina Emirate
Apart from the fact that the snakes in Machina Emirate are considered residents and royalties, and they don’t harm anybody, killing them also comes with a heavy price. That is why there is a law prohibting the killing and persecuting of the snakes in the Emirate. Many who killed the snakes eventually pay heavily.
A visitor to the Emirate, unaware of the order along with his pregnant wife once poured hot water into a snake hiding spot in their house. When the woman ultimately gave birth, the baby had snake-like appearances and habits. She was handicapped and had to be carried. Eventually, she died at the age of 18.
Another snake charmer who was bent on showing his skills ignored several warnings and tried killing a snake. Instead, it repelled and attacked him, and he died. Another visitor who killed a snake, metamorphosed into one himself and could be heard hissing. While he was saved with the help of religious clerics, it ultimately became a seasonal disease that he suffers every year.
The pepole of Machina Emirate haven’t had any confronation with the snakes, even though one time when a section of the Emirate’s palace fence collapsed and a passage route wasn’t left for the snakes, the fence kept collapsing until one was built for them.
While the snakes are generally harmless, their presence is usually an omen that something is about to happen. “But each time I see them around, I will pray and hope it’s for good because something will definitely happen”, The Emir was said.
What do you think about this strange way of life of the Machina Emirate people? Can you live there? Tell me in the comments section. If you enjoyed this, you can read places to visit in Yobe state here.