March 14, 2020

Argungu Festival: We must harness our resources to make Nigeria safe – Lawan

President of the Senate, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan

President of the Senate, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan

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By Emmanuel Elebeke

With the continuing insecurity and economic challenges facing Nigeria, what the country requires is to harness the enormous resources God has endowed her with to become a great nation, the Senate President, Sen. Ahmed Lawal has said.

Sen. Lawal made the postulation on Saturday at the Grand Finale of the Argungu International Fishing and Culture Festival, AIFCF held in Argungu, Kebbi State.

The Senate President said with the abundant of resources Nigeria is blessed with, one is left with the conclusion that if the resources are well harnessed and managed, Nigeria would soon overcome the challenges of insecurity and poverty currently bedevilling the country.

‘‘The Argungu International Fishing and Cultural Festival is a celebration of Nigeria now and today. When I look at the fishes caught, what crossed through my mind is that we are blessed. We are blessed as country, as a people. God has endowed our country with Natural resources and what we need is for us to harness the resources God has endowed us with,’’ he said.

The Argungu Internal Fishing and Cultural Festival, AIFCF is on its 60th edition and dates back to 1936. It was suspended 11 years ago over the heightening cases of insecurity in the region.

The Senate leader who acknowledged the enormous work being done by the security agencies thanked them for sustaining the tempo of protecting the nation from the aggressors, despite the limited resources available to them.

He said that the armed forces had done well in keeping the nation safe despite not given exactly what they needed to fight insecurity, assuring that the National Assembly under his watch would continue to work closely with the executive arm of government in providing the needed support to the security agencies.

‘‘But sometimes, we have been under some test, the test of insecurity. For the past 10 years this fishing festival could not hold because of insecurity. Let me thank the armed forces who have to work hard and sometimes lay their lives on our behalf with whatever we can afford to give them fight and we have not been able to give them what exactly what they need.

‘‘We commend you for working with whatever our country is able to provide. I want to assure you that we will never be tired to create a better environment you need to fight.

‘‘Recently the entire National Assembly reviewed the situation of security we face. We in the senate are now receiving our reports from the Adhoc committee to examine the situation and the resolutions will be sent to Mr. President, and those resolutions will be what we think, what we feel as your representatives on how to make Nigeria, a safer and secure country. We will continue to provide the resources for Armed forces to fight to secure our country.’’

On the AIFCF, Lawal said described it as a return of security in the North Western part of the country, asserting that with the celebration of the event 10 years after the suspension is an affirmation of improved security by the armed forces.

He called on the neighbouring countries to join hands with Nigeria to stem the tide of insecurity in the sub-region.

‘‘This is a celebration of return of security in this part of the country because we could not do this for 10 years. And today, we are doing it, I think the situation has improved. And we want to see it better than what it is today.

‘‘We need our neighbours to fight the kind of insurgency that we have. This festivity is an international one. It creates a bond between Nigeria and its neighbouring countries and is a bond that we must sustain. We need ourselves, we need them just as they need us.  When we fight, they should fight along with us especially where we need everybody’s support.  And when we disagree, we should settle our matters as possible.’’

While commending the sponsors of the festival, the Senate President charged them to do more for their host communities as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, especially in the area of education.

On 14 million out-of-school children in the North, which he described as a time bomb waiting to explode, he said that the law makers would ensure the elimination of the trend through the implementation of the National Basic Education Act.

‘‘I Commended the sponsors of the festival and charged them to sustain it as part of their CSR to their host communities. We can volunteer to give some kind of funds and resources for the educational upliftment of the communities where we operate because you can achieve better and more when you educate our people.

‘In the Northern part of the country, we are challenged with over 14million children out of school. This is big challenge to Nigeria and Northern Nigeria. This is a time Bomb waiting to explode. We need everybody, public as well as private participation to ensure we educate our people.

‘‘For us in National Assembly, we are making a case to implement the National Basic Education Act.  Even if it is 2million per year to be in the main stream of our education system, without jeopardizing our religious ethics they are supposed to learn.’’

‘‘While tanking President Buhari, we are working together, not only to improve security in the country but also to ensure we provide our people with something to do.

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‘‘We are encouraging the people in this part of the country to go back their farms, which is what they are known for and commended the people of Kebbi state for rice revolution and now fish revolution.’’

On his part, the host Governor, Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi state said that the outcome of the AIFCF was an attestation that Nigeria is a blessed nation and an opportunity for Nigeria to create an atmosphere for equitable competition for those who are ready to put in their best for the country.

‘‘Nigeria is a blessed nation in all ways. Argungu Fishing festival is a celebration of the historic heritage. It shows that what unite the people is stronger than what divide them. This is an opportunity to interact, celebrate our diversity. This festival is a celebration of equitable competition usually by people from around and outside Nigeria.

‘’The message for our country is that what is important in a nationhood is creation of equitable opportunities for those who are willing to put in their best to compete.’’

He also thanked all the sponsors and donors to the festival and promised to improve the future editions of the festival.

Highlight of the event was the presentation of prizes to the winners in the fishing and other contests.

Abubakar Awuri from Yawuri LGA of kebbi State emerged overall winner with a fish that weighed 78KG. He was rewarded with a prize of Honda salon Car and over N10million. The first runners up was Bala Yahaya from Agi LGA of Kebbi State. He who caught a fish that weighed 75KG and went home with a Tricycle and over N5million.

The third position went to Mewake Sani from Sokoto, who caught fish that weighed 70KG.

He received a moto Bike and over N3million, while others got consolation prizes that ranged from N20,000 – N50,000 each.

More than 3,000 fishermen participated in the fishing contest drawn from within and outside Nigeria. Other events that preceded the Fishing competition include: Moto race, donkey racing, horse racing, boat racing, blind swimming, and bay hand fishing among others.