Cross River: Ayade suspends Calabar carnival, gives reasons

Cross River: Ayade suspends Calabar carnival, gives reasons
Ben Ayade

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has suspended the 2021 annual Calabar carnival due to insecurity and the outbreak of Omicron COVID-19 variant.

Mr Linus Obogo, Deputy Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ayade, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on Monday in Calabar.

Obogo said the decision to suspend the annual festival was reached at a meeting with the governor, the State Executive Council members and stakeholders of the carnival.

According to him, the decision to suspend the Calabar carnival was unanimous.

“The gathering was to unveil the theme of this year’s carnival but based on the emergence of the new variant called omicron and the advice by health experts that it kills faster than other variant, the governor then puts it before the stakeholders and it was unanimously agreed that the carnival be suspended.

“The carnival band leaders and other stakeholders agreed that for the purpose of public health and safety, the carnival be suspended.

“Also, there is an emerging security report which indicates that the event may be taken over by some hoodlums.

“To avoid all of these from happening, it was advised that the carnival be suspended so that people are not caught unawares,” Obogo said.

Recall that the State Commissioner for Tourism and Culture, Mr Eric Anderson, on November 28 said the annual festival would be held inside the U.J. Esuene Sport Stadium due to COVID-19.

Anderson said the stadium would help to control the crowd and space the seating arrangement for people to watch the live show.