President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that restoration of the Argungu Agricultural and Fishing Festival after 11 years of its suspension is a manifestation of improved security in the country.
He stated this in his address at the official recognition of the best male and female farmers of the year for which thousands of spectators, including over 30 emirs within and outside the country, converged on Argungu, venue of the ongoing International Fishing and Cultural Festival in Kebbi State.
Security operatives had an herculean task controlling the crowd that thronged the gate to the fair ground, where President Buhari was joined by dignitaries including emirs from Niger and Benin republics, governors, lawmakers, members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), and the diplomatic corps, to witness the 24th edition of the fiesta.
President Buhari, who was represented by Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, lamented that insecurity created a lull in tourism and entertainment for many years, with ripple effects on the nation’s economy, as it restricted movements, gatherings and investments, promising to promote policies that would stimulate interest in tourism and entertainment.
In a statement issued by Special Assistant on Media, office of the Minister of Information and Culture, Segun Adeyemi, he said many international festivals, such as the Argungu Fishing and Cultural Festival, were being celebrated across the country, bringing Nigerians closer together and improving collective appreciation of the nation’s diversity, while projecting the rich history and culture to foreigners.
“In both instances, massive jobs are created in the tourism sector, which is still not fully developed. We must, therefore, continue to encourage, support and promote such festivals.
“Let me use this opportunity to commend Governor of Kebbi State, Emir of Argungu, Minister of Information and Culture, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and members of the organising committee at the local, state and federal levels for this remarkable event,” he said.
The President also commended private sector sponsors and international development partners for supporting the festival, saying Nigerians have the capacity to tackle the challenges facing the country.
He stressed that the revival of the Argungu Motor Rally and the annual Argungu International Fishing and Cultural Festival was a testimony to the success of Federal Government’s efforts at restoring peace and security in the country.
Speaking, Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, commended President Buhari for reviving the “we can do it” spirit in the agricultural sector, resulting in rising grain pyramids and employment, as well as providing an enabling environment for the Argungu Fishing and Cultural Festival to resume, saying, “We will not allow those who do not wish us well to define who we are.”