The Efi Lake fishing Festival is a major festival that takes place at Efi lake(huge natural lake) that is performed by the Efi People once every Seven years In Sabagreia, Kolokuma/Opokuma local Government Area of Bayelsa State,
It is a form of a homecoming for the sons and daughters of the town who use the occasion as means of giving thanks to the river goddess for a bountiful fish harvest. The festival, which is usually celebrated every seven years subject to the pronouncement of the chief priest, involves canoe rides, a boat regatta and a fishing contest. During the festival, visitors are able to purchase fish of various sizes caught in the lake and sold at cheap prices, Its always a 3 days event, this year edition was held between 25th of May and 28th of May, 2017.
Lake Efi is not just an ordinary one. Among its peculiarity is that it produces large quantities of fish for people to eat, It was also said that another astonishing attribute of the lake is that it brims with crocodiles, particularly during the dry season. These crocs are said to be friendly and harmless to the indigenes and visitors alike during the festival
The lake, which spans approximately an area of two kilometres square and surrounded by a forest, is believed to be self-purifying. It is said that it clears every fallen piece of debris to its bank, leaving its entire surface pure all the time.
The lake is said to be older than the town of Sabagreia. When the lake was discovered by Bon Okereke, Sabagreia was not a dwelling place as at then it used to be a burial ground, one of the great forefathers of Sabagreia people went there for hunting and discovered the lake in company with a man from Gbarain area of Yenagoa.
“The two discoverers, who were bent on making historical statements, contested for the ownership of the lake. As the contest got to a crescendo with none of them shifting ground on the real owner, wisdom prevailed. They sheathed their swords and struck a deal sealed with an oath.
“Both of them were said to have agreed that the first person to strike fire would be the owner of the lake. The deal was struck and they went their separate ways. The Gbarain man, according to legend, went home. Our forefather too was about going home but he changed his mind. Being a hunter, he pulled a masterstroke – he gathered dead leaves as the time was a dry season.
“He, therefore, used his gun to shoot at the dead leaves and smoke came out. Hence, when the Gbarain man came back with all his match sticks and the rest, he saw fire already ignited by Sabagreia ancestor.
“That put paid to the Lake Efi ownership contest between Sabagreia forebear and his co-discoverer. It was then his descendants began to dwell in Sabagreia. As a punishment, it was agreed that no Gbarain man should fish at the lake, whether it is festival time or not. However, because of civilization, it was stopped in 2013.”
People particularly those from the neighbouring states such as Rivers, Delta, Edo and Abia usually attend the fishing carnival, visitors were not expected to pay before catching fishes from the lake, However, they were only made to pay a token as gate fees and whatever they caught belonged to them, There Is a fishing competition and people who caught the biggest fish were honoured.
“In the olden days, the deity, called Efi, was served like any other deity before going fishing. There was a time we did not use spoon to drink fish sauce – we instead used the fins of the fish to drink the pepper soup.
“One thing that is unique is that there are a lot of crocodiles in the lake – all harmless, up to this present time. During dry season, they are everywhere and they are not harmful.”