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At Christmas: Our pain, trauma will soon be history — Buhari

By Terhemba Daka, Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, John Akubo, Ernest Nzor (Abuja), Timothy Agbor (Osogbo) and Obinna Nwaoku (Port Harcourt)
25 December 2021   |   4:32 am
As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ today, President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that there is a silver lining in the horizon for Nigerians despite the machinations of those he described...

• Urges Joint Effort To Confront Insecurity
• ‘Despite Successes, We Still Have Challenges’
• Nigerians Won’t Forget 2021 In A Hurry, Says Kaigama
• Deepen Your Faith In God, Lawan, Others Urge Christians

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ today, President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that there is a silver lining in the horizon for Nigerians despite the machinations of those he described as “wicked ones” who conspire to inflict pain and trauma on citizens.

In his Christmas message to Christians, Buhari expressed the need for citizens to rise up with one voice and jointly confront the menace of instability bedevilling the nation.

“It is a special period that brings peoples of the world together with one purpose; to celebrate togetherness, joy, peace, and above all, to share love with one another through exchange of goodwill and gifts.

“For the second Christmas running, the world will not be able to celebrate as we used to in years past.

“The COVID-19 pandemic, with its attendant debilitating impact, has remained with mankind, mutating and leaving in its wake devastating consequences on the economy, social interaction, and curtailing certain freedoms.

“The silver lining, however, is that humanity has been able to rise up with one voice and purpose, to confront the foisted conditions.

“I use this opportunity to appeal to our dear citizens to embrace vaccination, which is the best scientifically known bulwark against the pandemic. Recent events have shown that vaccination greatly reduces the effects of the virus on the human body,” the president said.

He also urged those that have taken the two doses to go ahead and take the booster as advised by the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC).

“I commend the efforts of members of the PSC under the headship of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation as they continue to chart a roadmap out of the pandemic and associated issues.

“On security, despite the remarkable successes generally recorded, we still have some challenges. Our courageous security forces, bolstered by the necessary support from this administration, daily confront the wicked ones amongst us, who continue to threaten the peace of the land.

“Recently, during the meeting with fellow Heads of State of the ECOWAS, I discussed the need to intensify efforts to jointly confront this menace causing instability in our sub-region.

“I am confident that with the renewed commitment and empowerment of our committed security personnel, all these issues which inflict pain and trauma on us will soon be history,” Buhari assured Nigerians.

He urged them to utilise the opportunity that the festive period brings to encourage themselves so that the machinations of the wicked ones will find no place to thrive.

“Christmas is a season when hope is rekindled. Hope, peace, joy, love are the recurring themes of this time. It is in the midst of hardship that the true test of a nation emerges.

“I urge Nigerians to invoke the indomitable spirit in us and see the present order of things as a phase that will also pass, just like other unsavory situations in the nation’s history. This government will not abandon the promises made to Nigerians for a better lease of life.

“The diversification of the economy embarked upon is yielding fruits. We shall continue to create opportunities for our teeming youths to ventilate their tremendous energy. As we felicitate with family, friends, colleagues, associates, let us spare moments to reach out to the less privileged.

“Let us also pray and give words of encouragement to our gallant security personnel fulfilling their oaths to keep us safe. I assure my compatriots that this administration remains resolute at ensuring that the standard of living of the average Nigerian is elevated. On this note, I wish Nigerians Merry Christmas!”

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, also felicitated with the Christians.

In a statement, his Special Adviser (Media) Ola Awoniyi, quoted him to have said that beyond the great merriment and thanksgiving joy that have come to be associated with the season, Christmas reminds mankind of the humble birth, simple life, teachings and sacrificial love of Jesus Christ.
To him, it is the reason the season is for practical demonstration of love and universal goodwill through giving to the needy and sharing with neighbours.

However, Lawan urged Nigerians to engage only in activities that enhance peace and harmony in their immediate environment and beyond, in the true spirit of the season as they celebrate Christmas and Boxing Day,

“Jesus Christ embodies selfless love, self-sacrifice, justice and peace, all of which virtues our country needs more than ever before as it marches through big challenges to sustain its democracy and development.

“Therefore, I enjoin us all to reflect on the significance of the season and recommit to these virtues for the benefit of our dear country Nigeria and mankind in general.

“Let us all continue to pray for peace in Nigeria and engage only in things that will make Nigeria the great country that we desire it to be.

“The current challenges require the continued cooperation, support and understanding of all Nigerians for the government to succeed.

“I have no doubt that the meaningful collaboration between the legislature and the executive in the governance process is making the political environment conducive for addressing national challenges and harnessing opportunities,” Lawan said.

Former President of the Senate, David Mark, expressed concern over the un-abating spate of violent crimes and insecurity across Nigeria and urged security operatives to review strategy towards reversing the situation.

Mark said Nigerians had been exposed to more than enough ridicule on account of the insecurity challenges.
“Governments and security agents should do more to restore hope and trust in the land”.

In his Christmas message issued, yesterday, in Abuja by his Special Adviser, Mr. Paul Mumeh, Mark noted that the current security strategy seems not to be yielding the expected results, advising that “a review of the operational strategy is, therefore, necessary to address the intractable issues”.

Part of the proposed review of strategy, he said, should include a comprehensive research to find out why some people resort to violence and taking up arms against their fellow citizens and a country they once loved.

“There is no need to pretend or shy away anymore. It should be stated categorically that the tragedy that has befallen Nigeria in terms of insecurity is beyond ordinary”, he said.

Mark, therefore, urged the government and the citizens alike to use this period of Yuletide to seek for divine intervention, reconcile and restore hope to the beleaguered people to heal the wounds of a broken bonds across nation.

He said: “Nothing can be more depressing and frustrating than being a people without hope or future. Our people cannot feel safe in their homes, places of works, worship centers or on the roads. No responsible society should allow this continue.”

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike called on Christians to use this Christmas to promote love, peace, and unity.

In a Christmas message issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, the governor urged the Christian faithful to remain committed to the worthy ideals exemplified by the birth of Jesus Christ as they celebrate the Yuletide.

He also called on the people to pray for Rivers State and Nigeria. He said Rivers would continue to grow from strength to strength as his administration is founded on God and the will of the people.

Wike advised the people of the state to use the season to deepen their faith in God who has the solution to all societal challenges. He assured the residents of the state that his administration is working with all security agencies to ensure a peaceful celebration of the season.

The governor promised that his administration would continue to build a new Rivers State where everyone will benefit from the programmes and projects of the government.

The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Most Revd. Ignatius Kaigama, said that with security challenges, COVID-19 pandemic, and agitations for self-determination, Nigerians would not forget 2021 in a hurry.

He lamented that the hearts of Nigerians “are heavy with the suffering” they have experienced and seen in 2021 alone.

In his Christmas message, yesterday, in Abuja, Kaigama observed that the Christmas this year has found Nigerians in the throes of woes and distressing circumstances far beyond human control. He called on them not to give up on the country despite the situations.

“As Nigerians, in almost every part of this country, our hearts are heavy with the suffering we have experienced and seen this year alone, the many deaths as a result of terrorism, kidnapping and banditry, the depressing economic situation with inflation spiraling out of control, crashing further the ordinary man who has already been drained of joy, peace, and hope, the nagging presence of COVID-19 which has killed and forced a disturbing distance between us, our loved ones and indeed the rest of humanity.

“The violent agitations for self-determination, which have come with the loss of lives and limbs, have left horrific scars on our collective psyche. All these make this year one that many Nigerians may not forget in a hurry. Nevertheless, Christmas proclaims, ‘Joy to the world the Lord has come.’

“For every disenchanted Nigerian who is on the verge of giving up on this country; for anyone who is prepared to cut off his moorings and drift away to distant lands, Christmas challenges us to dare to look ahead and again embrace the hope for a better Nigeria.”

The Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Osogbo, Most Rev. John Oyejola, urged Christians not to celebrate in despair depsite challenges bedeviling the nation.

The cleric, in his Christmas message made available by the Director of Social Communication Commission of the diocese, Rev Fr. Anthony Omodunbi, urged Christians not to forget safety measures against the coronavirus pandemic even as they celebrate with the hope that the world would soon overcome the scourge.

He admonished Christian families to embrace core tenets of the Christian faith, hope and love, adding that they must not be afraid because “God is alive and active in our world.”

The cleric expressed worry over security challenges in the country ranging from banditry to terrorism, kidnapping for ransom, violence and farmers/herds conflicts, saying these deadly activities needed to be stopped urgently by concerned authorities.

“For us Christians, the birth of Christ is a story of new life and with it new hope for the future glory that will be revealed when Christ comes again. Christians and all people on earth are to look up in hope, even if there are reasons to be afraid and to live in despair in our time. We must remember that in the most difficult periods in human history, Christians have always found consolation in the good news of the birth of Jesus Christ that begins with the birth of the Saviour in Bethlehem.

“Our celebrations of Christmas in churches and families this year should be joyful and grace-filled, while we must not forget safety concerns and we must not overlook the measures put in place by health officials and other government agencies borne out of genuine concern to protect one another from the coronavirus.”