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Kogi To Make Koto-Karfe Fishing Festival Money Spinning Venture

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SAM EGWU, in this report analyses efforts by Kogi state government to make the Koton-Karfe fishing festival a money spining venture and improve its standard to the best practice in the world.

In the time past a travel to the village was considered an opportunity to indulge in the history of the ancestors who had lived a profitable life quite, in most cases, different from ours today. Time is measured by the moment we live and the impact we make.

Tourism began when time originated and it’s all about experience, whether exploring a new environment or unfamiliar culture. The long vision of tourism in our community is an economic phenomenon; we all need to explore within our environment, either for personal,business or professional purpose.

Looking at our demographic landmarks, and naturally endowed environment, Koto-Karfe’ s landscape has a significant presence in tourism. With so many historical edifices like the first prison, oldest in Nigeria’ s Northern hemisphere.

Koto -Karfe in Kogi state is located within the central boundaries of Nigeria which is accessible to virtually everyone. This destination encompasses a rich cultural heritage,social hot spot and sustainable environment.

The journey of the Igu festival and people is fabled to have started long before their migration from Wukari, the capital of old Kwararafa Kingdom due to the growing deterioration of the Kingdom under the rule of Abutu Ejeh.

They settled at Idah, a town on the Eastern flank of the Niger river in the present day Kogi state.
Before the proper attention was accorded the Koto -Karfe fishing festival in very recent times, history has it that the waterway which the royal Niger company used to transport goods to the coastal regions of Calabar and Port Harcourt was busy all the year round, so much that attention was not apportioned to the fishing/ cultural festival to bring out the culture of the people as required to draw people’s attention and attract economic values.

Umar Dandy who remembered being out of town but was always around the community to remember his experience told our reporter, “Now I can’t imagine what my life would have been without the communal living through fishing which later became a festival. I got fascinated by the village life; by the culture and custom that binds the community together and feeling nostalgic about how life would have been looking back at the past. I used to swim at the shallow area of the river. It was from then I started learning the species of the fish.”

Though, it was fun for the young ones it was then discovered that it was not a game for only the youths, but better attention should be given to the fishing culture of the people. This is so culture can be preserved and not to allowed to go extinct.

One fisherman who is proud to be identified with this great opportunity of fishing narrated that whichever way people would want to relate with him, it had to do with fishing.

Hon. Abubakar Tanko told LEADERSHIP Sunday that he grew up surrounded by nature.
In his words he said, “Being surrounded by river and the lush green environment was all I needed to spur me to action. I have always being passionate about fishing, it’s something I can proudly say that I have to take up for a while.

“One of my late father’s hobby was farming and he enjoyed fish farming and seeing all he had done in our community inspired me.

“I often say that I am a fisherman because I always say it’s an adventure. Although fishing is an individual sport, and my success is based on the decision I make as an individual.
“Today, we are awakened. Time is measured by the moment we live, love.

The festival attracts people from all walks of life with a determination to see the river Niger and it’s people and culture.”

Hon. Zakari Osewu Mohammed, member representing Kogi / Koton – Karfe in the House of Assembly, told our reporter that most of his efforts were geared towards ensuring that the Koto – Karfe fishing festival is given recognition to make it number one, the best and biggest fishing festival in Nigeria. And going by history it’s bigger than Argungu fishing festival.

At the last edition of the festival in Koto – Karfe, headquarters of Kogi local government area, the state government indicated interest in the festival and promised to work with the community to make the festival a money spinning venture as well as to also improve the standard to the best practice in the world.

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