Cross River suspends 2021 carnival over security challenges, COVID variant

Cross River governor Ben Ayade

The government of Cross River state has suspended the 2021 carnival over fears of the new COVID 19 variant, Omicron, as well as security challenges ravaging both the state and the country.

Monday, Ayade cited the health concerns arising from the Omicron as well as prevailing security situation as reasons for the suspension.

He said: “I would not, as a governor and leader, compromise the lives and safety of the citizens for the fleeting excitement of the carnival.”

Before announcing the suspension, Ayade had subjected the decision to popular votes, following which majority of the stakeholders voted for the suspension of the carnival.

Recall that the Commissioner for Tourism in the state, Eric Anderson, had earlier said that the carnival would hold and would be restricted to the UJ Esuene Sports Stadium because of COVID-19 pandemic.

He had said there was no plan for the participants to dance through the 12-km routes along major streets in Calabar as it was done in the past years.

This is the second time the carnival, tagged ‘Africa’s Street party,’ has been suspended since its inception in 2004. The carnival was also suspended in 2020 due to the outbreak of Coronavirus.

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