The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has restated the Federal Government’s commitment to the preservation, protection and promotion of cultural heritage of Nigerians.
The Minister gave the assurance when he paid a courtesy call on the Emir of Yauri, Dr. Muhammad Abdullahi, on Saturday in Yauri Local Government, Kebbi State.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the minister was in Yauri to attend the 2020 Annual Regatta and Cultural Festival in Yauri.
Mohammed said that government would continue to take seriously the issue of culture and heritage in the country, adding: “That is why we are here today.”
He said: “We believe that our culture and heritage date back to several centuries and whatever can be done to preserve, protect and promote our culture and heritage the Federal Government is prepared to support.
“That is why I am here your Royal Highness to witness the famous Yauri Boat Regatta and cultural festival so that we can showcase to the whole world our cultural heritage.
“I have heard about the Regatta and cultural festival in Yauri, but I have never been able to attend anyone.
“And I want to seize this opportunity to express my appreciation to the Governor of Kebbi, Atiku Bagudu, who facilitated our coming here today.”
Responding, the monarch described the minister as a man that always promotes culture through his dressing.
He expressed the willingness of the Yauri Emirate Council to partner with the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to expand and promote the Regatta and cultural festival.
Abdullahi explained that the Yauri Regatta and Cultural Festival started about 200 years ago mainly to hunt hippopotamus and other wild animals in the river.
He said the festival usually provides opportunity for Yauri people to showcase their expertise through the boat ceremonies.
He said the festival had suffered serious setbacks since the demise of the then Premier of Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, about 50 years ago.
The monarch commended Bagudu for reviving and expanding the Regatta and Cultural Festival in Yauri, adding that gradually the festival would be turned into a full international event.
The Annual event started about 200 years ago as a display of the naval strength of Gungu people, where Gungu warriors annually attack the most dangerous hippopotamus on the River Niger.