Friday, 13 November 2009



Author: Yetunde Farinloye

The Argungun International Fishing Festival can now be said to have assumed the status of one of the global preferred tourist destinations with nationals of 21 countries witnessing this year edition of the four-day event.

They came in their thousands to Bernin Kebbi, state Capital of kebbi state to celebrate one of Nigeria’s most flamboyant events in the tourism calendar.This year’s edition lasted from March 11th to 15th.

According to the figures released by the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, a total of 262,386 visitors witnessed the famed fishing festival in 2009 out of which a total number of about 400 people were from outside the country.

The figures indicate that visitors from Niger, Mali, Chad, USA, Germany and Britain top the list of foreign tourists at the event.

True to their reputation as the most travelled tourists in the world, a total of 40 Germans attended the show followed by the Americans and the British.

The total expenditure at the festival according to NTDC was N1.3 billion out of which food and drinks alone accounted for half a billion naira, transportation fetched N78 million while accommodation at Argungu, Sokoto and Birnin Kebbi brought N146 million.

The report also indicates that at least about N206 million exchanged hands for shopping particularly for souvenirs, mementoes, decorations, textile materials and crafts; while N50 million was realized from package tours both by air and land.

Speaking to journalists in Abuja on the report, the Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe commended the Kebbi State government for utilizing to the fullest, the public/private partnership for the success of the festival.

He urged other states to bring up products that can be promoted and marketed by the NTDC as part of the holistic approach at developing Nigeria tourism.

A cash gift of 300,000 naira and a Honda Civic car was presented by President Umar Musa Yardua to the winner of this year’s edition, Abubarkar Indiri who caught a fish that weighed 65kg.

This year saw the fiftieth event since its origins in 1934, when the then Sultan Dan Mu'azu of Sokoto paid a friendly visit to the Emir of Argungun, Malam Mohammed Sama.

To commemorate the occasion, and as the highest traditional honour of the Kabawa, a grand fishing competition was organised by Malal for the august visitor and members of his entourage.

What began as a simple gathering of traditional Argungun fishermen has grown into an international event of epic proportion, where many thousands of fishermen converge to take part in the barehanded competition armed only with a modest net. Canoes filled with drummers and men rattling huge gourds drive the fish to the shallower waters where they are captured, much to the delight of the crowds who come to watch.

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