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JUST IN: Sanwo-Olu suspends greater Lagos fiesta over COVID-19 fourth wave threats

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has suspended all activities earlier announced for the 2021 edition of the Greater Lagos Fiesta after health experts raised concerns over a possible fourth COVID-19 wave in the state.

Sanwo-Olu said that the move was taken after Europe, the epi-centre of the COVID-19 pandemic, reintroduced restrictions to tackle the fourth wave of the pandemic within the state.

The suspension approved by the governor was announced by the State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, through a statement made available to newsmen on Saturday.

Akinbile-Yussuf explained that the decision was in compliance with sound advisory from health authorities in respect of the mammoth crowd expected at some of the gatherings as well as the dangers associated with attendance by members of the Diaspora community, who may be returning from Europe and other parts of the world now experiencing the fourth wave.

“We have seen Germany, Austria, and Greece reintroduce restrictions to curtail the spread of the pandemic. Germany is particularly a country in Europe with many Nigerians, who typically return home for the Christmas holidays.

“This is what science enables us to predict to forestall the tragic experience of last December when scores of our citizens died during the pandemic around yuletide.

“Our emotions favour going ahead with the plans but we must, as a responsible government, submit our will to the predictive intelligence and overriding power of science”.

“The strategic intent of the State Government in wanting to hold the fiesta was to accelerate the process of reflating the economy of Lagos State by putting money in the hands of our people through the deluge of commercial activities planned to take place during the fiesta. But the imperatives of protecting the lives of our people clearly override all economic and commercial considerations”, she added.

The commissioner, meanwhile, expressed profound appreciation to all the corporate sponsors that have indicated interest to support this year’s edition of the fiesta, saying, “we will not forget your rare demonstration of goodwill towards the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and, indeed, the people of Lagos State at a challenging time when businesses are battling with limited resources. You will remain our partners for this and similar initiatives that are in the works”.

However, she counselled event organisers and owners of event centres in the State with plans to host events in December to seek the guidance of the Lagos State Safety Commission, as well as the Ministry of Health, and enforce strict adherence to all COVID-19 health safety protocols.

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