The Calabar Christmas village in Cross River State, southern Nigeria has been inaugurated to give residents, visitors and tourists, 31 days of non-stop entertainment this December.
The Christmas village is usually opened every first day of December as a special commercial and entertainment centre for fun-seekers, who visit the ancient city of Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
Located on the open grounds of the council headquarters of Calabar Municipality, the village consist of over 160 rented stalls, where food and drinks including carnival costumes would be on sale, while a well-lighted stage to host entertainers was set up in the centre leaving enough space for dancing.
The Governor of Cross-River, Ben Ayade, who inaugurated the arena, said that the Christmas village marked the beginning of festivities in the state and congratulated the people for being part of activities lined up for this year’s celebration.
Governor Ayade who was represented by his chief of staff, Martins Orim, said: “This Christmas village is to provide the opportunity for us, especially those that cannot travel outside the country with their families, to come and have all the fun we need to have this season.”
He used the occasion to appeal to all Nigerian youths residing in Cross River “to shun all criminal activities, all cult clashes, cult related killings and cult attacks in the state. We should say ‘no’ to them; we should rise up with one voice and fight against it.”
Earlier, Kenneth Aklah, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Events Management, hinted that the village was to create a centre of commerce for the people this season.
“The intention of the government is to enable people create wealth each year and so the government has set up this centre and the beneficiaries are citizens of this state, who own these stalls and running the trade here. This is so that in January, parents can have money to send their children back to school,” said Aklah.
He disclosed that this year, three foreign countries would be opening stalls later in the month, stating “the positives for this year at the village is huge as Dubai Tourism will be here from December 15. They are already building a huge gazebo, where they would do a raffle draw to select few people to attend the 2020 Expo.
“The Federal Republic of Bangladesh would open a store here and the Republic of Vietnam would be here also at the village to teach farmers more about rice production. It is obvious that this Christmas village is a potpourri of activities for us as a people, for Nigeria and internationally.”
A peak into the Hospitality village revealed a well-organized barbeque area, which is in collaboration with the Hausa-Fulani community, an art and craft section, stage for comedy and stalls named after top hotels in Calabar.