Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaTuesday, March 13, 2018
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arely a week ago, I was on my way to Awka for some exigencies. After driving through Agulu Lake Bridge, I saw a young man, gladded in American suit with red tie dangling left and right, running without break. I slowed down and wound down my car's glass as he was running past me. I stretched my head outwards and asked him briskly, "Gentle man, what is wrong?" With fast breath he quickly shouted, "Father, there is katakata everywhere! Please run for your dear life!" Since life has no duplicate and to be on the safer side, I abandoned my car at the middle of the road, held up my white cassock and ran into the nearby bush and took cover behind a thick tree. I said my last prayers as I was waiting to see the katakata.

As I was watching, the motorists coming from the opposing directions slowed down as they sped past my abandoned car at the middle of the road. They were cursing the unseen driver. Suddenly a trailer fully loaded with cement came along. My abandoned car blocked his passage. The angry driver alighted from the trailer to ascertain why and who blocked his way. He saw nobody. As a last resort, he and his conductor began to push my car roughly into the bush. I ran out from my hiding place to claim the ownership of the car. I pleaded with them to allow me drive it away. I told them that it was the news of an impending katakata that moved me to run away for my dear life. Angrily, the trailer driver asked me, "Which katakata?" I opened my mouth and shut it up again without giving any answer. I perceived that the running neatly dressed young man may be suffering from acute mental disorder, which caused katakata in his brain. He may be a drug addict or a cultist. Thus, the fear of the unknown katakata catapulted me into the bush to take refuge. On the other hand, the car I abandoned at the middle of the road caused traffic katakata.

What then is katakata? Katakata is an onomatopoeic word. The rough sound denotes its meaning. If you call it an Igbo expression, you are correct. If you say it is an English term, you are also right. It can also be Hausa, Yoruba or pigin English term. In order words, katakata is multilingual. The Igbo man would say, "Katakata na-ada n'ebe niile." The English man says, "There is katakata everywhere." In pigin English one says, "Katakata dey for everywhere." The Hausa man says, "A kwei katakata koina." Even a German can equally express it this way: "Es gibt Katakata ueberall." I can't speak Yoruba and other languages. So, if you are speaking any other language, kindly make a similar expression with katakata before proceeding. The English word 'pandemonium or stampede' can in certain circumstances be used to express the meaning of katakata.

Yesterday night I couldn't sleep at all till daybreak. I went to bed after consuming pepper soup, suya, pap and fried groundnut. In addition, I drank a bottle of palm wine. I woke up suddenly at midnight due to the katakata in my stomach. I developed a running stomach and rushed to the toilet immediately. Hardly did I remove my pyjamas than to hear katakata sound coming out from my bowl. I sat there for over one hour as the katakata sound continued unabated. When I eventually got up, I discovered that my stomach has punctured like flat tube. I became so weak. I went back to bed but to no avail. The katakata sound began again after some minutes. I went back to the toilet and water was flowing out from my excretory organ like flood with all sorts of katakata sound. Sleep eluded me. I went to the toilet about twelve times before daybreak. I would have put on pampers if it were available in order to avoid accidental discharge.

As soon as it was daybreak, I rushed to the nearest chemist shop to purchase some drugs to stop the stomach katakata. The chemist asked me about the health challenge I was having. I told him that I have been having katakata in my stomach since last night till then. Running stomach accompanied it. He glanced at his drugs shelf and mixed some katakata medicine for me. He also gave me a dose of katakata injection. After taking the drugs, I slept off for over five hours. When I got up, the katakata had disappeared. Since then I have learnt that if you consume katakata foods, then katakata problems will follow you. A mad man came to a feast and saw a particular man eating all the food items available. He raised his voice and shouted, "Nwoke m rie ofu ka a mara nke gburu gi!'' (Mr. Man, eat one food item, so that the cause of your death can be traced).

During a wedding ceremony somewhere last week, as the bride, the bridegroom and their guests were eating and drinking lavishly, a group of wild rats from nowhere ran into the wedding hall. An alarm was raised. A voice shouted, "Beware of rats! Lassa fever o-o!" Immediately, katakata broke out. Everyone abandoned his or her food and drinks and ran for dear life. The wild rats took over the wedding banquet and started to make merry. They invited other home rats and wild rats instinctively. The hall was filled with different species of rat.

The wedding guests retreated and came back for counter attack with pesticides, clubs and guns to finish the unjust rat occupiers. By that time, the rats have already eaten and drunk to their satisfaction. They had also infected the remnant food and drink with Lassa fever. Angrily, the mob started shooting, clubbing and spraying pesticides everywhere. Another katakata broke out among the invading rats. Some of them were killed while others escaped through various routes. The Lassa contaminated food and drinks were poured away in a nearby forest. The surviving rats went there and finished everything. After the consumption, the rats proclaimed, "No victor, no vanquished." After all, the katakata affected both the human and animal kingdoms.

Another katakata episode occurred somewhere in the middle belt during a funeral parade. The siren was blaring. The marching band was beating ceremoniously. The undertakers were there making their burial acrobatics. As they were dancing with the corpse, behold some cattle and herders were coming from the opposite direction. Some of the cattle started running fiercely into the funeral procession. The armed herders released some shots into the air. Katakata broke out. The undertakers quickly abandoned the corpse and the casket beside the road and ran away. The ambulance driver and the band boys also took to their heels. Surprisingly, the casket opened by itself. The dead man came out and started chasing the cattle and armed herdsmen. The herdsmen threw away their Ak-47 and ran in different directions. The spirit of the dead man entered into the cattle, about forty in number. They all slumped and died. The dead man pursued the herdsmen and struck them dead also.

In order to avoid security katakata, the Inspector General of Police should first disarm the Fulani Herdsmen before calling for disarmament of other illegal groups. The police alone cannot protect the lives and properties of Nigerians everywhere. To avoid katakata the services of legal vigilante groups are indispensable. Therefore they should be allowed to carry authorized firearms.

The Nigerian government not long ago assured us that the Boko Haram terrorists have been decimated and defeated. Their visible and invisible leader, Shekau, has been killed four times. Twice they have been driven out of the Sambisa forest. Yet there was katakata on Monday 18th February at Girls Technical College Dapchi in Yobe State, when the students ran for their lives as the dreaded terrorists invaded their school from nowhere. Unfortunately, one hundred and ten girls were abducted and taken to an unknown destination. The Army and the Police trade blames over the abduction. The where-about of the abducted students is as confusing as what the fly feels when air is polluted in the open. How did the terrorists elude the Army and the Police to capture the innocent girls? Was there any complicity in the dreaded act? The terrorists seem to renew their power by the sexual abuse of innocent school girls. Some of them who were virgins will come back either pregnant or with a baby, if they are lucky to be alive. katakata is everywhere! O God, save us!!!