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Lion’s urine

I couldn’t believe my ears while in Niamey recently, when I was told by some friendly guides at the country’s museum that Lion’s urine is…

I couldn’t believe my ears while in Niamey recently, when I was told by some friendly guides at the country’s museum that Lion’s urine is a cure for Asthma. It occurred to me as they spoke that if Lion’s urine had any curative properties, then maybe it would be a cure for cowardice, or an extreme form of timidity in the human being. This was my little joke occuring on the spur of the moment, which I didn’t voice. But, here they were holding forth under the bright sunlight, on the healing powers of Lion’s urine. They added that the smell of Lion’s urine is quite pungent, and can thoroughly purify a person’s system by mere inhalation of same.
One day I was  in a large  new supermarket in Abuja, when a woman came up to me, wheezing and saying that she is asthmatic and does not have money to buy her drugs. I  was so shocked that such begging could go on in a nice new supermarket. Imagine my surprise a few minutes later when I saw the same woman moving around the supermarket looking for potential customers, with none of the wheezing and breathlessness I had noticed just a few minutes earlier.
Was I dreaming? She had suddenly and miraculously recovered. She saw me and ignored the look of shock on my face. With this revelation in Niamey, I thought of the woman and her fake wheezing, saying to myself  ‘Madam needs to travel to Niamey to get a cure for  her on-and-off Asthma, which she  has grown  to love so much.’
The guides now said that urine from either a female or male Lion would still produce the same positive result  in  anyone being treated for Asthma. Moussa Idrissa and Sani Sumanah, the guides, now added that there is a happy trickle of individuals leaving Nigeria, and travelling down to the museum at Niamey where they buy jerry can loads of the ‘powerful stuff’, which can be bought right there at the gate. They enthused that patrons also travel down from Senegal to Niamey to buy Lion’s urine. It is not simply a one directional movement from Nigeria, I was told.
Nigerians have not monopolized the trade in Lion’s urine, Sani Sumanah insists, almost laughing. He adds ‘Lions urine is a cure for Asthma, Sinusitis, as well as for wounds that do not heal.’ He explains ‘If you wash a wound two or three times with Lions urine, you will be healed.’ The duo also anticipate that more enthusiasts from other African countries will join the huge caravan travelling to Niamey to collect their share of its remarkable Lion’s urine. They laugh again. Then they show me the spot from which the Lion’s urine is harvested. It is a large pipe that leads out of the Lion’s cage, and whenever the Lion passes Urine, it is conveyed by the pipe outside, and gathered into a bucket placed at the end of the pipe. Then these two guides make regular checks to see if there is any urine to be harvested. Just then one of the Lion’s roared and came close to the cage, and the small crowd made up largely of teenagers that had gathered, swiftly turned to run. Sani Sumanah  declares that he used to be Asthmatic, but that as soon as he began urine theraphy, he became cured.
‘The Lion’s urine cured me. I am okay now. I was born with Asthma, but now I am cured. I drank it four times within a month and I was cured’, he boasts. He has even taken to smoking, which he wouldn’t have dared when he was treating Asthma. He says that the urine trade at the museum is the private affair of the guides, arguing that monies deriving from it go into their pockets. But they were not done yet.
They now said that the oil derived from  a lion can be used to treat various body illnesses. Both  Sani and Moussa stress that Lions urine does not go bad, and can never expire. They stopped short of saying that it will last forever. Sani Sumanah then presents a bottle full of the liquid which sells for  15,000 CFA. It is mentioned that people arrive the museum every day to buy  the urine.
Their patrons come from Nigeria, Senegal, Cote d’Voire and Togo. One  man comes from Nigeria and buys 50 litres  of Lion’s urine which he takes back to sell in Abuja. They salute  him on account of his prompt appearance at the museum. Three  litres of urine are harvested every day from the six Lions present, Weekly Trust is told. They laugh again, and they are joined by the other men at the gate, who over the years have developed an impressive  faith in the curative power of Lion’s urine.

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