by crossriverwatch admin
Cross River State Government has condemned in strong terms, the purported protest by the Football Association of Malawi Chief Executive Officer, Suzgo Nyirenda, alleging spurious claims of security challenges and substandard hotels ahead of their last Group stage World Cup Qualifier between Nigeria and Malawi slated for 7th September 2013 in Calabar.
In a statement signed by the Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development to Governor Imoke, Mr. Patrick Ugbe, who debunked the alleged security threat maintained that the report was untrue and unfounded and that the state is very perplexed by such a protest and demand.
“It is common knowledge that Calabar, and indeed Cross River State is the safest and most peaceful state in Nigeria, without any incidences of acts of terrorism. There has been no travel advisory issued against the State by any country or organization to the best of our knowledge” Ugbe explained.
He recalled that the Super Eagles, and the National U-17 team, the Golden Eaglets have played all their Qualifying matches towards AFCON 2013, Brazil 2016, and the African U-17 Championship, Morocco 2013 in Calabar, from June 2012 till date, making a total of over 9 internationally organized matches, without the city recording any security incidence.
The Commissioner maintained that, “Our hotels in Calabar and Cross River State are of World Class standard, which has increasingly attracted conferences and events, (both national and international) to the State, making the State the No.1 tourists’ destination in the country”.
He expressed shock over the protest by the Football Association of Malawi when countries like Rwanda, Liberia, Kenya, Namibia, Mali, Guinea, Niger, have played matches in Calabar in the past one year without having any cause to complain about neither the security nor the hospitality.
“It is also on record that we have hosted the FIFA World Youth Championship twice in 1999 and 2009, and on both occasions, FIFA and the countries that were in the Calabar center commended the organization and the standard of the hotels at the center. Newer hotels have even been built since then” he further stated.
Ugbe explained that Calabar hosts annually the biggest festival in the continent of Africa, the “Calabar Festival”, which climaxes with the biggest street party in Africa, “Carnival Calabar”, with over 500,000 revellers and spectators on the streets of Calabar, without any security challenges.
Saying, “We wish to state here clearly that Cross Riverians are peace loving and hospitable people, hence the State has become the preferred destination of choice for many, offering the warmest welcome in Africa” and asked FIFA to disregard such claims as they are baseless and without substance.
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