The Akwa Ibom State Government has announced the cancellation of its traditional anniversary celebration because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There would not be any cultural display, street partying, state banquet or any gathering of that sort, for the first time since the state was created on September 23, 1985.
The state, which would be 33 this year, was carved out from the then Cross River State by the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida.
The secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government, Emmanuel Ekuwem, said in a statement on Saturday, that Governor Udom Emmanuel has approved the cancellation of the anniversary celebration, in continuation of the fight against COVID-19.
Mr Ekuwem said it would be difficult to enforce compliance with COVID-19 guidelines and protocols if there is “a big state-wide celebration.”
“This decision is taken in the interest of public health and safety of the citizens of Akwa Ibom State,” he said.
“The health, lives and wellbeing of Akwa Ibomites must be prioritised over any celebrations.”
“The governor, however, invites all citizens to deeply reflect on the historical struggle for the creation of our state and apply themselves to worthy causes that will continue to positively transform and uplift the name of our state,” Mr Ekuwem added.
The total confirmed number of cases of COVID-19 in Akwa Ibom is 280 as of September 5, according to data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
The total number of confirmed cases in Nigeria is currently at 54,905.