Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, has suspended the 2021 edition of the Calabar Carnival following the outbreak of more deadly variant of coronavirus identified as Omicron which has been designated by World Health Organization (WHO) as virus of concern.
He explained that the move had become imperative as part of measures to break the transmission patter of the new variant and protect local and foreign fun seekers billed to attend the popular carnival.
The governor noted that the health concerns arising from the Omicron variant outbreak, as well as the prevailing security situation across the country, informed his decision to suspend the yearly event.
He made the announcement yesterday during the State Executive Council meeting attended by carnival band leaders, members of the State Executive Council and local government chairman from the 18 Council areas of the state.
He said that the gathering was to unveil the theme of the 2021 edition of the carnival but advised by health experts that Omicron kills faster than other variants necessitated the suspension.
He noted that the decision was unanimously agreed upon by the stakeholders at the meeting, saying all stakeholders present were of the opinion that protection of lives and property of citizens were paramount than the fleeting excitement of the carnival.
“We voted more than 3 times to arrive at No Carnival this year for the best interest of Cross Riverians!
“I’m sad of course as I wanted Carnival for 2021 but the majority carried the day. Dear Cross Riverians, we need to be alive first to enjoy Xmas and Carnival.
“The New COVID-19 Variant is dangerous and won’t portray a good image for the Governor who is the hero of COVID-19 prevention,” the governor said.
The famous Calabar Carnival is an annual display of culture and beauty and to mark Christmas celebration.