Thursday, March 20, 2008

Fisherman arrested

The winner of a prestigious Nigerian fishing festival has been stripped of his title and thrown in jail after rivals complained he cheated. The 66kg (132lb) 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."

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.

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