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HIASFEST 2024 Opens in Minna

…To Expand into West Africa in 2025

Jerry Adesewo


The 6th edition of the Hadiza Ibrahim Aliyu Schools Festival (HIASFEST) commenced today at the Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre in Minna, Niger State. Hajiya Aisha Fiddausi Aliyu, the Managing Director of Urban Shelter Limited, officially declared the festival open, expressing gratitude for its growth since its inception six years ago in honor of their mother.

During the declaration, Hajiya Aisha pledged ongoing support from the Aliyu Trust Foundation for the initiative, recognizing its significant contribution to the development of the participating children. She stated, “The Aliyu Trust Foundation will continue to support this initiative, which has, in so short a time, contributed immensely to the growth of these wonderful children, who are the hope of our tomorrow.”

This year’s edition features the participation of twenty-eight schools from five states, including Abuja, Benue, Taraba, Kaduna, and Minna. The competitive events encompass various categories such as On-the-Spot Story Writing, On-the-Spot Poetry Writing, Spoken Word, Innovation, Art and Craft, Contemporary Music, Cultural Dance, Information and Technology, and Drama.

In the last six years, the festival, which began as a Minna initiative, has expanded its reach, attracting participants from across the nation, including states like Kwara, Lagos, Ebonyi, Gombe, Adamawa, and Kebbi. Notably, plans are underway to take the festival continental, with an incursion into West Africa planned for the 7th edition scheduled to be held in 2025.

During his opening remarks, the initiator of the festival, Alhaji Abdullahi Kwatu, urged the Festival Director and President of Hilltop Creative Arts Foundation to begin work on the framework for the participation of African nations in the festival. He stated, “We had planned to go continental in 2020, but then COVID-19 struck and that plan was jettisoned. However, I believe that now is the time for it, and I thereby request the coordinators to begin putting together the framework for the participation of our African brothers and sisters in this festival. Now is the time.”

The opening ceremony witnessed the presence of major stakeholders within and outside the state, the traditional council, the education sector, special guests of honor, and students from across Nigerian states who came to support their peers. The event featured performances by selected students, including Pacella Chukwuma Eke, co-winner of the HIASFEST Star Prize 2024, adding vibrancy to the opening ceremony.


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