The Cross River State Government has assured residents in the state and tourists coming for the 2016 annual Calabar carnival of adequate security.Mr Ken Aklah, Special Adviser to Gov. Ben Ayade on Event Management, gave the assurance on Thursday in Calabar, during an on-the-spot assessment of the carnival village.
Aklah, who is also the Chairman of the 2016 carnival committee, said that Gov. Ayade had introduced a new security outfit known as `Homeland Security’, to boost the existing security network in the state.
He said the 2015 carnival witnessed some security challenges, but the state government had taken bold steps to ensure that the 2016 carnival was celebrated peacefully.
“We had a few security challenges last year; but this year’s carnival will be celebrated peacefully because Operation Delta Safe has now been extended to Cross River by the Federal Government’’, Aklah said.
The special adviser said that the carnival village was moved from the botanical garden in Calabar South to Calabar Municipal garden with a view to providing more funfair for tourists.
He said the move was also in line with the 2016 carnival theme of “Climate Change’’, as it would allow full regeneration to occur at the botanical garden.
According to him, it is also important to move the carnival village to the municipal garden because the garden is central and can host a large number of tourists during the festival.
“The projection is that many people can no longer afford the dollar to go abroad for the Christmas season funfair; hence Calabar is an easy but quality alternative for a good dose of fun.
“A lot of people have indicated interest to come to Calabar for the festival this year’’, he said.
While inspecting the facilities, Aklah said that work at the Christmas village was near completion, as about 80 shops had been provided for freelance vendors, and enough space for various categories of sponsors.
The one month festival will commence on December 1 and end on January1, 2017.
Mr Gab Onah, Chairman of Calabar Carnival Commission, said that the commission had introduced innovations into the carnival, which include the modification of the Bikers festival, decentralisation of the carnival flag-off route and others.
According to Onah, this year’s carnival will witness increase in international participating countries.
“The city of Calabar and the entire world will feel the 2016 carnival because we are ever ready to maintain and sustain the largest street party in Africa,’’ he said