Argungun Fishing Festival In The Heart Of Kebbi

Argungun fishing festival

The Argungun fishing festival is an annual festival which lasts for four days in Kebbi State , located in the North-western part of Nigeria. This fishing festival is usually held in Argungun, the capital city of the Argungun Emirate Council. People come from every part of the globe to witness the Argungun fishing festival which fills the atmosphere with a scent of the Hausa culture.

The festival was first held in 1934 to mark the end of the long period of hostility between the Kebbi Kingdom and the Sokoto Caliphate. History said it that, the then Emir of Kebbi, Mohammadu Sama, popularly called ‘Sarkin Kabbi’ organised this fishing festival to welcome the first Sultan of Sokoto, Hassan Muazu, and to make him stay overnight in the Kingdom of Kebbi.

Argungun fishermen

At the festival, thousands of fishermen line up in front of the Matan Fada river like local warriors, holding their net and gourds and waiting patiently for the sound of the gun. Immediately the gun goes off, they run into the narrow river which is about 2.3 kilometers in length and begin their search for the biggest fish. Each fisherman uses his best fishing strategy because he has only one hour to catch the biggest fish. After the stoppage time, all the fishes being caught are weighed so as to identify the biggest and award the lucky fisherman with the first prize.
Other events which add colour and glamour to the festival are wrestling, local boxing (dambe), archery, agricultural show (display of different food crops and domestic animals), fish-butchering, canoeing, diving, cultural dances and singing, ‘kabanci’ display (catching of birds and fingerlings with bare hands) and so on. But as modernity sets in, events like bicycle and car racing were added to the festival. The fisherman with the biggest catch is decorated and presented the cash {which is up to $7,500 (N1 million)} and other prizes. The biggest catch was reserved for the Sultan, Emirs and other important figures in the country.

The Argungun fishing festival has uplifted not only the cultures of Kebbi, but also the economy of the state in every aspect. It was this festival that facilitated the creation of Kebbi State in August 1991. Many people testified to their success during the festival as they make huge profit from different activities.
The Argungun fishing festival will forever remain a blessing to the people of Kebbi state and the whole of Nigeria.


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