Lagos suspends annual fiesta over COVID-19 fourth wave fears

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu

The Lagos State government has announced the suspension of its annual end-of year event tagged, Greater Lagos Fiesta, over fears of a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The state government stated that it was imperative to follow the latest proactive advice from health authorities to suspend all activities earlier announced for the month-long event.

A statement by the state’s Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, stated that the decision to suspend the fiesta followed 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.

She said, “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 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.”

Akinbile-Yussuf also thanked the corporate sponsors who had so far indicated interest to support the event, 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.”

The commissioner went on to advise 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 and safety protocols.

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