By George Orok Jnr.
The Cross River House of Assembly has called on the state government to suspend the organisation of the 2020 Calabar festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic and insecurity.
Peter Odey, Leader of the Assembly and member representing Ogoja State Constituency, who moved the motion during plenary on Thursday in Calabar.
Odey advised that the state should rather focus on fixing the infrastructure that were destroyed by hoodlums who hijacked the #EndSars protest in the state and vandalised both private and public properties.
Odey said that 2020 has been a difficult year across the world due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged the world economy.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most countries of the world like Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom and others have all suspended their carnivals.
“Even football matches were suspended for a period of time and even now that they have resume, the premier league is on without spectators because of the protocols of the pandemic concerning large crowds.
“Calabar Carnival is an international one, people come from all over the world to participate and enjoy themselves. We cannot in good conscience be calling for the organisation of the Carnival at this period.
“Secondly, about three weeks ago, Calabar was under attack. The Calabar International Convention Centre were the Miss Africa Beauty pageant normally take place was also vandalised, where will you host the event?”.
“As a state government, I think we should be more concerned with other issues like building back our infrastructure,” he said.
Co-Sponsor of the motion and Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, Joseph Bassey maintained that the carnival should be hosted next year when things improve, especially security and the restoration of the vandalised infrastructure.
Bassey said that the health risk associated with the the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions imposed by government and its agencies to curb it’s spread were still subsisting.
Lawmakers who contributed on the motion also supported Odey’s position for the suspension of the 2020 Carnival.
In his ruling, Speaker of the House, Eteng Jonah-Williams, observed that many international events across the world have been suspended due to the pandemic.
Jonah-Williams said that the safety of residents in the state was paramount, thereby calling on residents of the state to join hands with the state government to rebuild the state.
© 2020, Admin. All rights reserved.