The escalating insecurity in Cross River State, marked by a surge in kidnapping cases, is casting a shadow over the much-anticipated annual Calabar Carnival. Residents of Calabar are voicing their concerns that the increasing abductions, particularly targeting professionals like doctors, lawyers, and government officials, could jeopardize the carnival scheduled for December 1.
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) recently called off a 40-day strike, which was a response to the kidnapping of Professor Ekanem Ephraim, a neurologist who was held captive for 115 days. Dr Felix Archibong, the NMA chairman, expressed that the state has become increasingly uninhabitable due to the rampant kidnappings, posing a threat not only to residents but also to potential investors and tourists who are crucial for the success of the carnival.
Resident Abel Achor attributes the rise in kidnappings to economic hardship, urging the government to foster a conducive environment for businesses, thereby creating jobs. Meanwhile, the state governor, Bassey Otu, has condemned the kidnappings and announced rewards for information leading to arrests. However, locals feel that mere condemnations are insufficient to combat the crisis.
The state Commissioner of Police, Gyogon Grimah, acknowledges the arrests of some suspects but emphasizes the need for more decisive action to ensure security ahead of the carnival.
At Yohaig NG, we view the rising insecurity in Calabar, especially the increase in kidnappings, as a critical issue that demands immediate and effective action. The Calabar Carnival, a symbol of Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage, attracts thousands of tourists and is a significant contributor to the state’s economy. The threat posed by these kidnappings not only undermines the safety of the residents but also jeopardizes the economic and cultural vibrancy of the region.
The situation in Calabar is a stark reminder of the broader challenges Nigeria faces in terms of security and economic stability. The correlation between economic hardship and the rise in criminal activities, as pointed out by Abel Achor, highlights the urgent need for comprehensive economic policies that address unemployment and create a thriving business environment.
Governor Bassey Otu’s response, while a step in the right direction, needs to be backed by more robust and proactive measures. The reliance on the community for information and the promise of rewards, though important, are not sufficient to address the root causes of the problem. There is a need for a multi-faceted approach that includes economic development, community engagement, and a stronger, more effective law enforcement response.
The situation in Calabar calls for a concerted effort from all stakeholders, including the government, security agencies, and the community. It is imperative to restore safety and stability, not only for the success of the Calabar Carnival but also for the overall well-being and prosperity of the residents. The time for decisive action is now, to ensure that this cultural jewel of Nigeria continues to shine brightly.
Did You Know?
- The Calabar Carnival, often referred to as “Africa’s Biggest Street Party,” was created as part of the vision of making Cross River State the number one tourist destination for Nigerians and tourists all over the world.
- The carnival, which started in 2004, has grown to become a major international event, attracting thousands of visitors annually.
- Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, is renowned for its historical significance and is considered one of the cleanest and most environmentally friendly cities in Nigeria.
- The carnival features a range of activities, including music performances, street parades, masquerades, and traditional dances, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Nigeria.
- The theme of the Calabar Carnival changes every year, reflecting various aspects of cultural and social issues.