Argungu Fishing Festival

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Argungu Fishing Festival by Stephen Achugwo

The Argungu Fishing Festival or Argungu Dance Festival is an annual four-day festival in the state of Kebbi, in the north-western part of Northern Nigeria. The region is made up of fertile river areas (matanfada, mala, gamji), with much irrigation and orchards (lambu in Hausa). The majority of fishermen are the followers of Islam and also predominantly farmers. Kanta museum is the main historical centre in Argungu for visitors across the globe. People from around the world travel to Argungu just to witness the occasion.The main purpose of the Argungu fishing festival is for fishing and unity.


The festival began in the year 1934, as a mark of the end of the centuries-old hostility between the Sokoto Caliphate and the Kebbi Kingdom.

In 2005, the winning fish weighed 75 kg, and needed four men to hoist it onto the scales. In 2006 the festival banned fishing due to safety concerns relating to the low water levels.[1] The importance of the festival to the economy has led the government to conserve fish stock by prohibiting use of gill nets and cast nets.[2] The Zauro polder project, an irrigation scheme in the Rima River floodplain to the south of Argungu, has been criticized because the reservoir threatens to flood the traditional site of the festival.[3]


On the final day of the festival, a competition is held in which thousands of men line up along the river and at the sound of a gunshot, all of them jump into the river and have an hour to catch the largest fish. The winner can take home as much as $7,500 US dollars. Competitors are only allowed to use traditional fishing tools and many prefer to catch fish entirely by hand (a practice also popular elsewhere and known as "noodling") to demonstrate their prowess.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nigeria fish festival bans fish". BBC News. 2006-11-07. Archived from the original on March 25, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
  2. ^ A.A. Eyo and Y. B. Ahmed. "Management of Inland Capture Fisheries and Challenges to Fish Production in Nigeria" (PDF). Federal College of Freshwater Fisheries Technology. Retrieved 2010-10-09.
  3. ^ Tosin Omoniyi (20 December 2009). "A Dam of Controversy". Newswatch. Retrieved 2010-10-09.

External links[edit]

Purpose . The festival has many purpose which include: for fishing, unity, fun and entertainment.