The River State governor, Ben Ayade, has put the 2021 Calabar Carnival edition on hold.
The Governor explained that the health concerns arising from the outbreak of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, as well as the prevailing security situation, are his reasons for the suspension.
He made the announcement on Monday at the State Executive Council Chamber 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 the gathering was to unveil the theme of the 2021 edition of the carnival but based on the emergence of the new variant called Omicron, and with advice by health experts it kills faster than other variants, hence, the carnival has to be suspended.
File photo of participants at Calabar Carnival
The decision was unanimously agreed upon by the stakeholders at the meeting.
Governor Ayade said the lives of people are paramount and he would compromise the lives and safety of the citizens for the fleeting excitement of the carnival.
The famous Calabar Carnival is an annual display of culture and beauty and to mark Christmas celebration. Cross-River is the home of tourism and hospitality in Nigeria and Africa, and goes by the slogan ‘The People’s Paradise.’