President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Christian faithful in the country to continue to exhibit hope, patience, resilience and adhere to safety regulations as his administration redoubled efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
This admonition was contained in an Easter message to Nigerians he personally signed, noting that this year’s celebration came amid the grip with which COVID 19 had held the entire world.
President Buhari regretted that majority of Christians had found themselves marking Easter in a subdued manner, away from the usual congregation in churches, a development he described as unprecedented in living memory.
“This is unusual and very unfortunate,” he said.
“However, I wish to enjoin our Christian compatriots to rekindle their faith in Christ who overcame persecution, sufferings and displayed endurance, steadfastness and above all piety.
“Jesus Christ represented man’s ability to withstand temporary pains in the hope of everlasting glory.
“I urge you to imbibe and live the values of humility, discipline, perseverance, sacrifice and obedience which Jesus Christ demonstrated during His stay on earth.
“There is no better opportunity than now for all Christians in particular, and Nigerians in general, to remain faithful and hopeful that with intensified prayers backed by personal and collective responsibility, the nation shall pull through this most difficult trial.
“I have no doubt that if all stakeholders – individuals and groups – play their part to the fullest as advised by our scientists and medical experts in confronting Covid-19, the inherent resilience and determination of our people will enable us to pull through.
“As I stated in my national broadcast on Sunday, March 29, 2020, since there is currently no known vaccine against the virus, “the best and most efficient way to avoid getting infected is through regular hygiene and sanitary practices as well as social distancing,” Buhari added.
The president commended what he described as encouraging containment and ameliorating strategies put in place by members of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, adding that the personal and collective inconveniences suffered by Nigerians due to measures such as restriction of movements and closure of business premises were necessary sacrifices.
“Being ‘a matter of life and death,’ these sacrifices are in everybody’s interest to save our country from calamity,” he said.
Buhari also added: “The welfare of our people is paramount. Accordingly, the most economically vulnerable in our communities will continue to be uppermost in our plans, and efforts will be made to supply them with basic means of survival.
“While we see the Covid-19 pandemic as a global challenge, this administration is not oblivious of the constant threat posed to our national security by terrorists and insurgents. They may take this opportunity to perpetrate attacks. But our armed forces and other security and intelligence services will remain vigilant and continue to contain these threats and consolidate efforts to eradicate them completely.
“As we mark this year’s Easter, whatever the circumstances, I encourage you to make the most of the situation, and to keep safe,” he said.