Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has suspended the 2021 edition of the Calabar carnival due to insecurity and the outbreak of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
Linus Obogo, the Deputy Chief Press Secretary to Mr. Ayade, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Calabar.
Mr Obogo told NAN that the decision to suspend the annual festival was reached at a meeting with the governor, the State Executive Council members and others of the carnival.
According to him, the decision to suspend the annual festival 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 variants, 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,” Mr Obogo said.
The suspension of the carnival is coming a day after the Commissioner for Tourism and Culture in the state, Eric Anderson, said the festival would be held inside the U.J Esuene Sport Stadium due to the COVID-19.
Mr Anderson had told NAN that the stadium would help to control the crowd and space the seating arrangement for people to watch the carnival.