Nigeria reopens fishing festival after 10 years

Set of Archers ready for a contest
Set of Archers ready for a contest

Ten years after its closedown due to insecurity, Argungu international fishing and cultural festival has commenced.

The Argungu festival is a four-day cultural event in Kebbi State that culminates in a motor rally, farmers’ competition, polo match, archery contest, musical and cultural dances.

The fishing festival was flagged off with a motor rally on Wednesday in Abuja.

President Muhammadu Buhari, during the flag off, said the return of the festival epitomises unity and testament of the federal government’s resolve to build local capacity and diversify the economy.

The festival is reputed for drawing tourists from within and outside Nigeria.

Mr Buhari who was represented by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the government would harness the potentials of the tourism and automotive industries.

“The federal government will continue to give the necessary support for the Argungu Fishing and Cultural Festival and all other festivals in the country in a bid to boost tourism.

 Polo players during competition
Polo players during competition

“We are committed to diversifying the economy through industrialisation and tourism,” he said.

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In his address, the Director-General, National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Jelani Aliyu, said the Argungu Festival would serve as an avenue to showcase Nigeria-produced and assembled vehicles.

Promoting food production

During the festival’s agricultural fair and display on Thursday, Mr Buhari said his government remains committed to restoring security and expanding food production.

President Muhammad Buhari flanked by Kebbi state governor, Abubakar Guwudu and other officials
President Muhammad Buhari flanked by Kebbi state governor, Abubakar Guwudu and other officials

“Our presence here today is evidence of government’s commitment to restoring security and expanding domestic food production as core mandate of our programmes,” he said.

About Argungu festival

Argungu Fishing Festival began in 1934 in honour of the visiting Sultan of Sokoto, Late Hassan Dan Mu’azu, to mark an end of hostility between the former Sokoto caliphate and the Kebbi kingdom.

Until 2006, a fishing competition used to be the highlight of the festival where fishermen jumped into a river and have an hour to scoop the biggest catch for a big cash prize.

It was, however, banned over safety concerns.

The festival was last held in 2010 and was suspended because of insurgency and insecurity in the country.


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