It’s normal to hear Nigerians talk about how they hate certain animals because of bad experiences they had with them. We asked six Nigerians what it’s like being chased by an animal and what their relationship with that animal is like now.

Chineye, 20

Mine happened in JSS2 on my way home with some friends. While walking, the conversation was so fun, we decided to take a longer route home. Everything was fine until we saw a boy running towards us. We turned around and saw this big hen pursuing him and started running ourselves. My friends ran in different directions, but I somehow wound up running in the same direction as the boy. We ended up on top of someone’s car, and that’s when I noticed that the stupid boy had stolen two chicks. The hen started flying and pecking at us, lord knows I saw my life flash before my eyes. I didn’t touch or eat chicken till 2019 because my mum started selling them, and we had to kill them ourselves.

Obioha, 24

One of my worst experiences with dogs had to be on my first day of school in JSS1. My parents decided that I could get to a new school on my own and I got lost. I eventually found my way to school, but I was late and got flogged. When school ended, I decided to follow some of my classmates that had mentioned that they lived close to my house. They made me trek but I didn’t mind because I figured that this time I wouldn’t get lost, and I could save my money. I wish I had just entered a bus that day. Sha, we got close to a football field and saw people running towards us and into people’s houses. My mum had told me not to follow the crowd when things like that happened, so I kept walking. It’s still the stupidest decision I have ever made in my life. The dogs I saw that day were tall and big rottweilers. These dogs chased me around, and they were fast. I ran in the wrong direction and ended up hitting my head on a tree and fainting. When I woke up people had gathered around me. All I remember was that my friends took me home, and I was quiet the whole day. Till today, I hate dogs and I don’t visit people that have dogs.

Simi, 25

My neighbour’s son had 6 dogs of different breeds. He’d take them on walks, and the whole estate preferred to stay in while he did that. That unfaithful day, I was outside when he took them for their walk. This boy was my older brother’s friend, he was in his twenties, and I was 16. He’d been disturbing me, asking me to go out with him, but I refused. It made the incident feel malicious. I saw him and the dogs while I was running errands, and I’m still not sure if he released those dogs on purpose, but one minute I was walking and the next minute, dogs were chasing me. They chased me out of the estate and into First bank, where the security guy quickly shut the gates. I was so shocked, I started crying. Nigerians can be very unsympathetic, some customers at the ATM queue were laughing and it was humiliating.

When I eventually got myself together and went home, I met him In front of my gate laughing while recounting the story to my brother. I haven’t spoken to him to this day and I still don’t like dogs. Not even those parlour dogs that people claim are nice, na them they mad pass.

Eli, 22

I went to a boarding school, and we used to have so many cats on the fence, especially at night and early in the morning. There were many rumours about the cats, especially because it was a Christian school and Nigerians think cats are evil. One evening after night prep, while running to go for night devotion, I left my water bottle in class. I went back after devotion to look for it but it was already stolen. As I was walking back to my hostel I saw something with bright eyes beside me. I thought it was a snake, so naturally, I ran. When I turned around I realized that it was a cat. I don’t know if the cat thought it was a game, but that cat chased me. The girls at the tap area in front of my hostel saw me running towards them, they didn’t even wait to see what I was running from. Those girls ran inside the hostel and locked me out. I ended up running towards the gate man’s house, and he helped me pursue the cat with a stick. The chaplain was called the next day to pray for me just in case it was a bad spirit pursuing me which was a bit extra.

All my friends and the housemistress were so nice to me for a while until everyone forgot about it. I am queer, so it’s always a red flag when I tell women I like, that I hate cats. Why does having a cat have to be a queer thing? They are so mean.

Teidou, 22

It was a Sunday and I decided not to go to church. I attended a military school, missing activities like that meant hiding out of sight from teachers, seniors, house mistresses and soldiers. My friends and I decided that we would hide in the biology lab. As we were walking towards the lab, we saw people running from afar, shouting that a cow was pursuing them. I ended up falling on my face, got injured and was taken to the sickbay. There was punishment waiting for me when I got better so that sucked. I am still afraid of cows but it doesn’t stop me from eating cow meat, it’s just payback for the scar I got.

Azeezat, 21

When I remember what happened to me that day, it gives me so much joy to eat chicken. I grew up in the UK, so we didn’t get to see farm animals or anything that wasn’t a dog unless you went to a petting zoo. We used to travel to Nigeria often until we decided to settle here permanently. I was 4 the first time I remembered coming to Nigeria. We went to visit an uncle that had a farm and I asked him if I could feed the chicks. All I did was stretch out my hand, and the mother hen decided that I wanted to kill them. She chased me around, and all the adults were laughing, no one did anything to stop her. I was so certain that she wanted to kill me. Forgetting that incident has been hard, they still scare me.



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