Calabar, Nov. 20, 2017 (TNE) Migration is the theme of the famous Calabar Carnival in Cross River this year, focusing on the risks involved in illegal migration which has seen many Nigerians, especially the youth, perish in the Mediterranean and in the Desert.
On Sunday, the governor, Ben Ayade cautioned intending African migrants in search of greener pasturesvof these associated risks, during the inauguration of the 2017 second Carnival dry run ahead of the December event, in Calabar.
According to Ayade, the theme of the carnival was chosen in view of the plights of Africans who migrate out of Africa in search of greener pastures, food and help.
“Not too long, we lost 26 Nigerians who died in the Mediterranean Sea while crossing to Europe in search of greener pasture.
“The excessive migration of young people out of African in search of greener pastures in Europe and America has caused us the death of many young people.
“The Calabar carnival uses that opportunity to expose the risk of such migration. Africans must understand that the carnival is not all about the street dance, but the interpretation of the theme.
“This theme is very critical. I wonder why the entire world will not focus on Calabar this year.
“ We are trying to tell the world that Africa is rich enough to be independent and our young men and women will not have to cross to foreign countries at the peril of their own lives in search of alternative sources of income,’’ Ayade said.
The governor said that the activities of the various carnival bands would be focused on the interpretation of the theme in a way of sensitising intending migrants.
“Africa will learn a lesson from this dry run that indeed, we are not playing, but telling the true story of Africa, our heritage, culture and values.
“I use this opportunity to invite everyone around the globe to be at the Calabar Carnival which is now the second most popular carnival in the world,’’ he said.
Earlier, Mr Gabe Onah, Chairman of Calabar Carnival Commission, had said that the carnival is a robust annual robust with diverse activities.