Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi has lifted the ban placed on five Igala annual traditional festivals since 1963.

The ban was said to have been placed on the festivals by the late Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Premier of the then Northern Region and the Sardauna of Sokoto.

Alhaji Abubakar Ohere, the Special Adviser to Gov. Bello on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, disclosed this at a news conference in Lokoja on Thursday.

Ohere listed the festivals as: Ochoa, Egwu, Ogbadu, Ogaganyi and Italian.

He said that they were proscribed without due consultations with the Igala people.

He said that the festivals were celebrated annually based on the Lunar calendar by the Igala people.

The festivals, according to him, serve as a unifying factor and promotion of the cultural heritage of the Igala people within and outside the country.

“Besides, they serve as the preservation of the tradition and customs of the land and a tourist attraction that will bring investors, thereby boosting the economy of the state,” he said.

The special adviser reiterated the commitment of the governor to the overall development of the state and the traditional institution.

“It is, therefore, in realising the compelling need to re-awaken some of the lofty traditional and cultural values that define us as a people and create avenues that will foster unity and peaceful coexistence, that Alhaji Yahaya Bello magnanimously deproscribed the festivals.

“This administration places high premium on the core values and ethics of our tradition and will continue to do all that are humanly possible to uphold our dignity as a people.

“Government is further looking inwards to undertake some reformatory steps in this direction by exploring our culture as a tool for peace and unity,” Ohere said.

The letter lifting the ban on the festivals was later presented to Prince Peter Enemas, the representative of the Attah of Igala, Dr Michael Ameh-Oboni II, at the occasion.

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