Argungu Fishing And Cultural Festival – History And Facts

Africa as a whole is remarkably known for her unique taste when it comes to culture.

In the north-western part of Nigeria, the people of Argungu in Kebbi state annually celebrate their four-day Fishing and Dancing Festival widely known as Argungu Fishing Festival.

The festival which attracts visitors across the world was originally a religious festival marked to celebrate the end of the feud between the Sokoto Caliphate and the Kebbi Kingdom.

Earlier before the festival, it was believed the Shehu Usman Dan Fodio of Sokoto invaded Kebbi Empire during a Jihad, conquered and formed a community in the 16th century and named it Argungu.

Held in the Argungu community, that is mainly Muslim  fishermen and local farmers, in a region made up of fertile river areas of Matanfada, Mala, Gamji with excess irrigation and orchards.

Before the festival begins, about 5000 fishermen and women all gather close to the river waiting for a gunshot before diving into the river with their traditional fishing tools – nets, gourds made from calabash in which the winner is expected to catch the biggest fish preferably by hand to showcase their fishing prowess and will later be accompanied by drummers on canoes and men rattling a huge gourds filled with seeds to chase the fishes down the shallow water in which after the festival, the river area will be guided or prohibited from fishing in river in order to breed more bigger fish for the next year’s event.

At the end of the event, the winner goes home with 7000 – 8000 dollars.
It was reported that in 2005, the biggest fish from the winner weighed almost 75 kg which took four able men to lift it to the scale, and till date has been the biggest fish ever to be caught in any of the events.

Aside the fishing festival, the event experiences other competitions like swimming, diving competition, barehanded fishing, canoe racing, wild duck hunting, and more then singing, drinking, eating and dancing till night calls.

The Argungu Fishing and Cultural Festival which normal falls on March, has grown wide that Kebbi state has recorded great number of tourists trooping into the state to witness the unique festival in the Argungu community.

Since after the memorable visit of Sultan Dan Mu’azu, the event started recording the presence of top dignitaries during the festival which the then head of states, Gen. Yakubu Gowon together with Alh. Diori Hammani of Niger Republic graced the event in 1970.

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