The Lagos government has suspended the ‘Greater Lagos Fiesta’ over concerns around the possibility of a fourth wave of the COVID pandemic.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos, had in October said the state runs the risk of experiencing a fourth wave of the pandemic during the festive season.
The ‘Greater Lagos Fiesta’ 2021, a one-month event with the theme ‘Lagos Rocks’, had been scheduled for December with activities around entertainment, art and culture.
Announcing the suspension of the fiesta in a statement on Saturday, Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, Lagos commissioner for tourism, arts and culture, said the decision was taken following advice from medical professionals.
“Just as Europe, the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, reintroduced restrictions to tackle the fourth wave of the pandemic, the Lagos State Government has considered it imperative to follow the latest proactive advice from health authorities to suspend all activities earlier announced for the Greater Lagos Fiesta 2021,” the statement reads.
“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.”
In her comments on the decision to suspend the fiesta, the Lagos commissioner for tourism said it was to prevent a spike in infection rates.
“We have seen Germany, Austria, and Greece reintroduce restrictions to curtail the spread of the pandemic,” she said.
“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 pandemic around 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.”
She expressed appreciation to stakeholders who had supported the planning for the event.
“You will remain our partners for this and similar initiatives that are in the works,” she added.
Meanwhile, other event organisers with plans for activities in December across the state have been advised to put necessary measures in place in strict compliance with the COVID protocol.