A woman fries Akara or bean cake outside Chukuku in Abuja

A woman fries Akara or bean cake outside Chukuku in Abuja

By Gami Tadanyigbe/ Kuje Abuja

About 10 minutes drive from Gwagwalada in Abuja, is Chukuku Village, a farming community, where it is a taboo to fry Akara or bean cake.

Despite modernity around it, the Chukuku Community sticks to the tradition of its forebears, which forbids the frying of Akara within the community.

However, eating of Akara is not forbidden.

What is outlawed is frying or baking it within the community.

The farming community, mostly inhabited by the traditional Gbagyi people has a blend of Yoruba, Igbos, Hausa, among others.

The Chief of Chukuku Community, Malam Bikko Usman, could not give any reason why the residents of the community are banned from frying Akara.

He attributed it to a tradition handed over by his forefathers.

Usman, however, said that Akara could be bought from outside the community and eaten in the community.

“It is the frying that is forbidden not the eating.

“We relocated from one part of the Chukuku village, where we don’t fry Akara to this part, that is why we still don’t allow the frying of Akara.

“I can’t tell the reason it’s forbidden because it’s been like that from the other part we relocated from. It has been from generation to generation.

The Community Secretary, Sarki Tsugbaza, said the myth was an instruction handed down by the community’s forefathers, adding that it was a tradition to be respected by generations to come.

“You can go to anywhere to buy and bring here to eat but you can’t fry it here in Chukuku,” he said.

“We learned from our forefathers that people are not allowed to fry Akara in this community, and we asked why, we were told its their forefathers’ instruction.

“They didn’t explain to us the reason for it. We also believe that since our forefathers said that they did not know the reason and it was an instruction handed over to them, so shall it be,” he said.

Tsugbaza said the Chukuku people all grew up with the consciousness that it was a tradition not to be broken, as no one knew the consequence for disobeying the taboo.

Tsugbaza added that there was no record of anyone found to have gone against the myth since the creation of the village.

A resident of the community, Mr Sila Deka, who said he had been resident in the community for over 10 years, confirmed that it was a taboo to fry Akara in Chukuku.

“I have been living here for over 10 years, I also heard of it, and I have not seen any place where people fry Akara along the road in this community.

“You can fry from another community and bring to Chukuku and they will buy it but not allowed to be fried here,” he said.

Mrs Junmai Leda, who was born in the community, said that she was told by her grandparents that history had it that a woman, who used to fry Akara in the olden days in the community disappeared without trace.

“The Chief of the community then made a decree that Akara should not be fried in the community again,” she said.

Akara (Bean cake) is a popular street snack and staple food in Nigeria and some other African countries.

Though its origin is said to be from the Yoruba, it has found its way to the tables of other West African countries and even beyond.

It is enjoyed in many Nigerian homes either as breakfast or dinner.

Akara, which is made from beans is peeled and blended with pepper and seasoning added, it is then fried and served with garri, custard, pap, oatmeal or bread.

In some communities, crayfish or fish is added with other spices such as garlic before frying.