Mar 22, 2008


These are indeed not the best of times for Bello Ya'u,the winner of the recently concluded Argungu Fishing Festival Competition,in Kebbi,Northern Nigeria.The man,who some days ago won the star prize of a Honda Car,2 seat tickets to the next Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and 2 Million Naira cash for catching the prized 65.95 kg fish at the fishing competition,has turned out to be a fishy crook,a cheat,a fraudster and a disgrace.Officials of the festival alleged that the fish was already dead when it was caught.Ya'u and an accomplice known as Zazzagawa,had smuggled the dead fish into the river,a day before the competition.Both men had since been arrested and handed over to the police,with Ya'u stripped of the winner's title and all prizes withdrawn from him.What a sad and disgraceful end for a young man who wanted to win at all cost,by every crooked means.

1 comment:

Prince Kabir Abubakar said...

Argungu Fishing Festival (AFF) - Nigeria champion fisherman jailed. Rivals thought the winner was a bit fishy

Credit: BBC News 20 March 2008

The gills showed the fish was long dead - The Emir of Argungu

The winner of a prestigious Nigerian fishing festival has been stripped of his title and thrown in jail after rivals complained he cheated. Click this link,, for his picture.

The 66kg (10st 6lb) fish that won the competition in Argungu, in northern Kebbi State, was already dead when it came out of the water, officials said.

Bello Yakub has been arrested and will appear before a magistrate next week.

The monster fish netted him prizes worth $33,000, including a car and a ticket to go on the Hajj pilgrimage.

It is thought the fish may have been caught in the much larger Niger River and brought to Argungu, where fishing is banned except during the festival.

"Other fishermen claimed he was not really one of them," the Emir of Argungu, Samaila Mera, said.

"We investigated and found that he couldn't have taken it from the river in Argungu because the gills showed the fish was long dead."

The BBC's Hassan Sahabi who was at the festival says this may seriously damage the reputation of an event considered a major tourist attraction in Nigeria.

Mr Yakub had told reporters this was the first time he had won in more than 30 attempts.

"I just hope I can use the prize money for something good," he said.

The festival has been held regularly, along with an agricultural show and other cultural displays, since 1934.

Tens of thousands of fishermen wade through the water, which reaches chin-high in parts, dragging nets along the bottom.

Fish are placed inside a hollowed out calabash - a kind of dried pumpkin.

From LEADERSHIP News Online:

The winner of the just concluded Argungu International Fishing Festival Competition, Malam Bello Ya'u, has been stripped of the title and detained by the Police in Argungu for cheating in the contest.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Ya'u caught the biggest fish, weighing 65.95kg at the grand finale, held on Saturday. Ya'u received a brand new Honda Car from Maltina, two Hajj Seats to Saudi Arabia, one each from Kebbi State Government and Argungu Emirate Council and a television set from MTN.

Ya'u, however, lost the title and prizes for refusing to swear by the Holy Quran to defend an allegations that he smuggled a dead fish into the river a day before the competition.

Confirming this development to NAN in his palace today, the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Sama'ila Mera, said he personally investigated the case and found that the suspect with one Zazzagawa, committed the offence. He said the two suspects, who were handed over to the Police, had since confessed their crime and that appropriate actions would be taken against them.

The emir dismissed the assertion that the incident would negatively affect the festival and Argungu Emirate.

"We must expose this kind of cheating because our tradition and culture hate cheating and hence we will not accept this to happen here," he said.

NAN reliably learnt that the person who came second, with a catch of 62kg, would be crowned as the champion.

NAN reports that the car won by Ya'u has been confiscated and parked at the premises of the Emirate Council.

Efforts to speak to either Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in-charge of Argungu or Commissioner of Police in Kebbi State, Alhaji Muktari Ibrahim, on the incident proved abortive. While the DPO refused to comment, the commissioner did not answer telephone calls to him.

More than 30,000 fishermen from within and outside Nigeria participated in the competition. END.


I ATTEMPTED TO RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO COMMENT ON THIS SERIOUS ISSUE, BUT I, OBVIOUSLY, FAILED. As the webmaster of both and, I played some roles (albeit very little) in the publicity and promotion of this year's festival. I also know, first-hand, how much efforts the chairman of the organizing committee for the festival (the Kebbi State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Aliyu) put in to ensure the festival became a success, and it was.

This scandal, if verified to be true, through due process of course, will have very serious consequencies, both negative and positive. On the one hand, if the allegation is confirmed, it will be reasonable to wonder if this is the first time an episode like this occured. This, will in-turn necessitates further inquiry into the matter. On the other hand, this issue may end up being a blessing in disguise. I have always believed that the festival should be handled strickly by private sector administration, with the Kebbi State's Government performing oversight functions. It is no secret that governmets, the world over, do not do very well when it comes to administration of events like the Argungu International Fishing Festival. I just wish a competent business entity will be given the chance to run the festival, with the government playing ONLY supervisory role. We have people/firms right here in Kebbi (if that may be the problem/concern) who have the competence and the integrity to carry out the needed functions successfully, but who knows why that option is not a preference? That may perhaps be because a prophet is usually not honoured or respected at home. We prefer (usually) to respect outsiders, like Japanese, Chinese, Germans, Russians, etc. A good example of a resource we can use right here at home is Kebbi Web Hosting, LLC. It is a Kebbi indigenous company with international exposure and experience, registered and headquartered in Maryland, USA. It has all it takes to deliver in making the Argungu Festival not only "419" proof, but also make the festival truly International (with a capital "I") event in this 21st century information age.

My heart bleeds, knowing what I know and what I believe is capable of being done for Kebbi and Nigeria through this festival's potentials. Look, I am a Kebbian, a Kebbite, a Kebbician, or whatever else you may want to refer me as. I know what I am talking about. For example. I have some close friends who worked to help Kenya mordernize it tourism industry. But I guess there is a process we all have to go through, no matter how painful, before we can have the vision or the will to do things proactively right, through our own local people. It is the same story about local versus foreign coaches in the Nigerian soccer arena that Dr. Sambawa always talk about.

On the issue of Mallam Bello Yakub or Ya'u, depending on what the correct version of his family name is, the guy is definately a disgrace to the Kebbi, Nigerian, and even world community. In giving the devil his worth though, I commend him (Bello) for at least refusing to swear by the Qur'an one way or the other about the allegation against him, presumably he knows something that we don't. I wish some of our so-called leaders can borrow a leaf from Bello. Even at his lowest moment, he stayed true to his respect of the Scripture. Bello may be a thief, but he is not blinded enough to sale his soul to the devil for material wealth, unlike..., we all know who (unless we are deceiving ourselves).

It is my opinion that we should look at this fiasco as a collective failure (and responsibility) to be fixed, instead of concentrating only on finger pointing. If you have a big mouth to raise issues (this is welcomed) make sure that you propose viable solutions to go with the challenges you raise. Talk is cheap.

How Kebbi State and Argungu Fishing Festival go from here will depend on the political will of the guys in charge. Luckyly for us, I know for a fact, my good friend, His Royal Highness, the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samai'la Muhammadu Mera will not let this unfortunate event to affect his spirits solely negatively. If anything, knowing him well, he will take this event and use it to turn things around and make the festival event better, overall. This young Emir loves challenges, he does not shy away from them, instead he confronts them, with wisdom.

Your Highness we are all counting on you, that's apart from my own expectations of you from what I personally know you are made up.

Next year's festival performance will prove my assessment right, in-sha-Allah.

Prince Kabir is the President/CEO of Kebbi Web Hosting, LLC and All Africa Web Hosting based in Maryland, USA.

OTHER COMMENTS from "Leadership" Website:

-Criminality is not only peculiar to Hausas or Nigerians but is commonly practiced all over the world U.S.A. inclusive. The only difference is that the system in this countries strive to prevent such acts from happening. All I am saying is that the organisers of this programme should have done better than this.

-no one will be borned with criminality written on his face ,but is the something which one choce to practice and become perfect!this man is not the first person to involved in this act,i learned that almost among the people that did comment on this issue is not the first time that they heard something of this other parts of this country like (L) of yoruba land and (O) of igbo land they can do this in a market place but man did this in a hidden manner but with all this there is need for corrections,therefore be a patriotic nigerians.thanks and may GOD bless my country and we people in it.

-i am highly disappointed not with mallam bello but with the organisers of this wonderful event. an event that was first organised to mark friendship of the sultan with the argungu people. how sure are we that such an act has not been happening. for the organisers is a challenge

-Can anyone with brain ask the question of where this Bello learn the act of smuggling an already catch fish into the river to win the competition? He saw how his president, Governor, Senator, House of Rep, House of assembly. Local govt chairman smuggled already thumb-printed electoral ballot paper and win elections. What is so wrong him doing the same with big fish. As someone had already said, if Nigeria rulers are allowed to participate, they will smuggle even bigger fish to win. When will people open their eyes and admit it that Nigeria has decayed beyond treatment and healing. Nigeria was long dead but the crude oil looters are delaying it's final rest in peace. As a norhterner myself, every single day, I see the point most Easterners, that they s
hould allowed to go their separate way and solve their problem themselves. Whether we like it or not, this Igbo guys are right!!!!!!!!!!

-Sentiment aside, thief is thief, whether Ibo, Hausa or Yaruba. Stop saying this breed that, that breed this. "Thief na thief"

-hahaha..... what a catastrophe!!.,some people can be funny at times, how stupid of the fellow to do such a thing, he has has brought upon himself and his family ultimate shame and disgrace.hahaha... maybe he was thinking of using the hajj seats to go and wash his sins in Mekkah.

-Again if the smuggled fish story is true, then the man was born by Babangida, breast fed by Arthur Nzeribe, trained by Obasanjo and unleashed on Argungu by Babangmaradosanjo!!!!!! Make una leave hausaman or yorubaman thief alone, when Ibo man when PDP chose enter there, ego thief pass thief!

-Check and proof me wrong! He must be a PDP card carrying member!

-dis is da problem with nigerians....da moment i saw dis article i knew there had to be some stupid people dat would be tribalist....just bcuz da person dat smuggled da fish was hausa doesnt mean hausa people are thieves....the above idiot AKIN is saying dat hausa and fulani breed thieves....dat is a negative, irresponsible, immature comment to make....we have not been very lucky wiv our leaders despite their tribe...theve
all stolen and is it not a hausa president dat you have dat is tring to make things better please people should stop being idiots and start thinkin of nigeria as a nation not as segregated tribal communities....and also there is not enough evidence showing he smuggled a dead fish so dnt judge da case.....thank you...GOD help NI


-I don't want to be joining issues because if I am to investigate the incident the 'smugler' may be innocent and the organisers/accusers be indicted. Nevertheless, God will be happy with the (in)famous mallam for honouring His book by not swearing. Our leaders swear even in the physical presence of God and cart away billions of naira

- How Comes that such a big fish will be smulgled into the water without the knowledge of the organisers of the festival? How did each contestant got into the water in the first place Mr Emir.It there indicate that some people have not done thir work

-This man qualifies to be the President of Nigeria. Has he done anything that is not Nigerian today. At least the man was afraid of swearing on the koran.

-Yes I also felt pained when a football agent in the UK said that Nigerians are not normal human beings implying that you must use criminal tactics when doing business with Nigerians. Difficult to swallow yet hard to refute. Now look at this case in an event to lift Nigeria's image. We are rotten through and through one and all , reason why we honour and g;orify crooks who have looted the teasury while disregarding the few honest ones. We elect corrupt people over honest ones. We refuse to rally round honest people whereever they come from, what ever tribe or religion they profess. We reject the few Jakandes, Col Hammed Alis, the Buharis, the Idiagbons while we foolish
ly celebrate the IBBs, the Alamayesegha's and other such scum and vermins who drain our life blood. We the masses foolishly continue to be divided along tribal , religious and sectional lines while our oppressors close rank and suck our blood. We will continue to pay for this perfidy. So will our children. And their children after them
(our grand children). And theirs after them , and theirs and theirs ad infinitum. MAIGANI.HARHANJI@YAHOO.COM


-if the former head of state can collect N12billion naira for energy contract without executing the job, if Obsanjo can smuggle billions of the nations money in the name of contract that never was, if governors can steal billions of tax payers money, if PDP leaership can smuggle ballot boxes full of votes into voting centres, if if if ..... The man should be pardoned becasuse his sin is nothing compared to the series of election anuulment as a result of corrupt leadership. His action is a fall out from our corrupt system which is being passed to the socity at large. Am sure the dummy was sold to him by a corrupt politician. If our leaders have the opportunity of participating in the fishing festival, they will smuggle fish bigger than Mallam Bello's into the river. May God help us.

-This shows the level to which nigeria and nigerians have degenerated as a nation, as a people. when one oyinbo man said last week that when you are dealing with nigerians, you are not dealing with normal people, there was cry all over the whole place. is the man not right? is he not vindicated?u can say this is just a one-off incident, but is this not what is happening in our national life? look at the revelation from the power probe, does it not show how dishonest and greedy our leaders are? i have given up on this country, all the value system of integrity and honesty is gone. what type of legacy are we bequeating to our children? take it from me, things will not countinue this way. judgement day is coming in this country which will make the Rawlings case in Ghana a child's play. this is not a threat, it is a PLEDGE!