By Onuminya Innocent in Argungu
Winners at the 2020 Argungu International Fishing festival in Kebbi State have gone home with prizes ranging from brand new cars, millions of naira and hajj slots.
The first prize winner, Malam Abubakar Ya’u from Augie Local Government Area of Kebbi State, who caught a fish weighing 78 kilogrammes, went home with over N10 million, two brand new cars and hajj seats.
Malam Bala Yahaya-Bagaye, who caught a fish weighing 75 kilogrammes, came second, while
Malam Maiwake Sani came third with a fish weighing 70 kilogrammes.
The Chairman, Northern Governors Forum, Governor Simon Lalong, while congratulating all the participants, donated N3 million to the first prize winner, Ya’u, N2 million to Yahaya-Bagaye, who came second and N1 million to the third prize winner, Sani.
The Executive Secretary, Nigeria Shippers Council, Dr. Hassan Bello, presented N1 million to Ya’u, N750,000 to Yahaya-Bagaye and N500,000 to Sani.
The Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal donated N3 million, N2 million and N1 million to the first, second and third prize winners respectively, as well as a hajj seat to the third prize winner.
The West African Cotton Company Limited (WACOT) donated a brand new car, N1 million and hajj seat to Ya’u, while the wife of the Kebbi State governor, Dr Zainab Bagudu, also donated a brand new car to him.
Maltina Nigeria Limited donated a tricycle, also known as KEKE NAPEP, and a motorcycle to the second and third prize winners respectively.
Speaking at the occasion, the Senate President, Dr Ahmed Lawan, described the festival as a manifestation of Nigeria’s image and rich culture.
He said the fishing pound is blessed and emphasized the need for Nigerians to harness the resources the country are endowed with.
He narrated the history of the festival, dating back to 1934, adding that it could not hold for over 10 years due to insecurity.
The Senate president said the event always draws people from neighbouring countries, adding that it creates a bond which must be sustained.
Lawan lamented the number of out-of-school children especially in Northern Nigeria and called for proper action to reduce the menace.
He urged the participants who did not win not to be discouraged, but should redouble efforts for competitive challenge in subsequent years.
He announced the donation of N5 million to be shared among all the participants so as to give all a sense of belonging.
Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State described the event as historic and worthy of celebration by people of the state and beyond.
Bagudu said the celebration is a competition where fishermen come from all over, both from within and outside Nigeria.
The Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Sama’la Mera, appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for creating relative peace that culminated into organising the fishing festival.
He thanked the state government, the Sultan of Sokoto, Dr Sa’ad Abubakar III, as well as others who contributed towards ensuring the success of the event.
About 30,000 fishermen participated in the event.
Dignitaries at the occasion included: Senate President, Lawan; Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Alhaji Abubakar Malami; Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Maigari Dangyadi; the Sanate Leader Yahaya Abdullahi; and Senator Kabiru Gaya, among others.
The traditional rulers who graced the occasion included Sultan of Sokoto, Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi (Ojaja II); Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Muhammad Iliyasu Bashir; Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Sama’la Mera; Emir of Gombe, Alhaji Abubakar Shehu Abubakar III; and King Alfred Dietue-Spiff from Bayelsa, among others.