It was a display of “cultural heritage at its peak” on Tuesday in Shafan Abakpa, otherwise called Sofiyo, a name derived from the English word “Survey” where the white settlers resided during the colonial era.
The ancient town of Sofiyo in Toto LG was agog as prominent Egbira ‘sons’ and ‘daughters’ both at home and in the Diaspora, converged to witness this year’s Irehwa hunting festival which was held in a grand style at GSS Shafan Abakpa Playground.
The popular annual Irehwa Hunting Festival is a unifying avenue for the people as history has it that the Lord of Hunters called “Ade- Ugbeh” had proclaimed before his death that, for his people to continue to enjoy peace, unity and development among each other, the Irehwa Festival must be sustained.
Although owing to insecurity in the area and the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the last festival was held in 2017 and three years after, the people resumed their festival activities where various neighbouring tribes of Gwagi, Gade, Tiv, Hausa Fulani, among others, joined the host, the Egbira people to display their cultural heritage with different dance groups and masquerades.
Being a festival of hunting, the hunters who spent the last three days in the bush hunting arrived the venue of the occasion with their catches of different animals of different shapes and sizes climaxing the Peak of the event.
As a mark of honour the animals caught were presented as gifts to visitors and personalities that graced the event.
Speaker, Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, who is the chairman of the event spoke extensively on the significance of sustenance of cultural heritage of the people as an instrument of peace, unity and speedy growth of the society.
The Speaker who was represented by the State Commissioner for Health Pharmacy, Ahmed Baba Yahaya, commended the people of the area for sustaining their culture and called on others to do the same just as he commended Governor Abdullahi Sule for his security and development efforts in the area and the State at large.
On their part, Hon. Usman Labaran Shafa, member representing Toto/Gadabuke at the state Assembly, Abdulmalik Usman; FCT APC Chairman, Hon. Abdullahi Aliyu Tashas; Chairman, Toto LG, Muhammed Musa Maikaya, and Usman Shaba, the president, Shafan Abakpa Community Association, as well as APC Chairman Toto LG, said the return of Irehwa signifies the return of peace in the area.
They emphasised on the need for sustaining peace in the area for development to thrive.
The occasion which had in attendance retired Justice of Supreme Court, Suleiman Galadima, representatives of Ohimege Opanda and that of Ona of Abaji, among others traditional leaders, also featured presentation of prices to outstanding hunters.