Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade has announced the suspension of the 2021 Calabar Carnival due to the new variant of COVID-19, Omicron, in some countries of the world.
Ayade disclosed that he took the decision after a prolonged debate among his aides, including commissioners, special advisers, special assistants, speaker of the House of Assembly and council chairmen, during an enlarged executive council meeting.
While making the announcement, Ayade noted that the health concerns arising from the outbreak of the COVID-19 variant, Omicron, as well as the prevailing security situation in the country, as reasons for the suspension.
However, he said he would not as a governor and leader jeopardised the lives and safety of the citizens of the state for the temporary excitement of the carnival.
Ayade said: “We voted more than three times to arrive at no carnival this year in the best interest of Cross Riverians. I’m sad of course as I wanted the carnival for 2021 but the majority carried the day. Dear Cross Riverians, we need to be alive first to enjoy Christmas and carnival. The new COVID-19 variant is dangerous.”
According to one of the speakers and former Minister of Culture and Tourism, Chief Edem Duke, who mentioned that it would be a mockery for a state, which Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu, is the Chair of Nigerian Commissioners of Health Forum, to hold carnival amidst the dangers of the new COVID-19 wave.