The annual Durbar festival will not hold in Ilorin this year, Kwara State government says, citing security concerns.

The colourful event, which features horse riding by the Emir and his entourage, is one of the cultural events Ilorin shares with other northern cities in the country.

The spectacle has become a major tourist attraction over the years and was supposed to hold on Wednesday, a day after the Eid-el-Kabir celebration.

Announcing the cancellation, the Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Communications, Rabiat Abdulrahman, said the event cannot go on because an intelligence report indicated that some forces want to seize the avenue to foment trouble.

“The suspension, painful as it is given our people’s attachment to it and government’s investments to promote this colourful cultural heritage, follows a police intelligence report which indicated that some forces plan to use the boisterous nature of the cultural event to instigate a breakdown of law and order in the state, thereby complicating national security challenges,” she said.

“Government reiterates its commitment to protection of lives and property of all residents of the state, as that is its primary obligation.

“We urge all residents of the state to continue to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies.

“The government once again congratulates Kwarans on the Eid-ul-Kabir celebrations and bids everyone many blessed Eid in the coming years.”

Jigawa and Kano state governments have earlier banned durbar activities in compliance with a circular issued by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 putting six states and the FCT on red alert over the third wave of COVID-19.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported how the emergence of the Delta variant of coronavirus infection in the country and the rising number of new cases and hospitalisations, resulted in the Nigerian government announcing the preventive measure.

The affected states are Lagos, Oyo, Rivers, Kaduna, Kano and Plateau, aside from the nation’s capital, FCT.

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