Enugu state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, his counterparts in Ebonyi, Dave Umahi; Abia, Okezie Ikpeazu; Akwa Ibom, Udom Emmanuel and Borno, Babagana Zulum on Friday in enjoined Nigerians to pray for peace across the country while felicitating with christians on Christmas celebration.
“While wishing everyone a peaceful, joyful and blessed Christmas, I urge all of us to reflect on how security forces, local hunters and vigilantes are marking Christmas in bushes, hunting Boko Haram and also being hunted by the insurgents
“Let us also reflect on how families of these forces and volunteers are celebrating without their bread winners,’’ Governor Zulum said in his Christmas message.
He also enjoined Nigerians to reflect over how thousands of yet-to-be-resettled internally displaced persons and fellow Nigerians taking refuge in foreign countries are also celebrating Christmas, queuing up for food in host communities.
“Reflecting on the conditions of fellow citizens will arouse our consciousness to rededicate ourselves to ceaselessly pray for peace and to support the fight against insurgents through generating relevant information for security agents,’’ he said.
Zulum also called on security agents to remain committed to their duties and uphold their solemn pledge to safeguard lives and property of citizens, promising them sustained encouragement.
“We will continue to accord far reaching support to security forces, especially those who have shown their dedication and gallantry. We will commend and reward, and where there is the need to raise voices of concern, we will do so on behalf of our citizens whom we have sworn to protect.
“I believe in the carrot-and-stick approach and this is based on my personal principles and my training in the academia. Critical thinking is the foundation of academics and in this, the philosophy is to look at the opposite side of every case study.
In Enugu, Gov. Ugwuanyi urged Christian faithful to use Christmas for sustained prayers for God’s intervention on Nigeria’s challenges. The governor urged Nigerians not to lose faith in God in the face of adversity, but to remain committed to the good news that Jesus Christ was born to bring salvation to mankind.
He stressed that the yuletide offered Nigerians the opportunity to reflect soberly, pray for the country and its leaders. ”This is a period to engage in activities that promote peace, unity, security and progress of Nigeria, ” he said.
The governor also thanked the people of the state for their love, goodwill, solidarity, support and unceasing prayers. Ugwuanyi reassured of his firm resolve to sustain the tempo of peace and good governance in the state as well as to continue to serve the people with the fear of God.
In Umuahia, Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu urged Christians to reflect on the peace and hope which the birth of Jesus Christ brought to humanity. The governor urged Christians to use Christmas to reflect on the huge impact the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ had on humanity for a better tomorrow.
Ikpeazu also urged Nigerians to be grateful to God for the gift of life in a year that had proven to be the most challenging in a long time. He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic which shook the very foundation of the world and the world economy, remained the most powerful challenge mankind had faced in recent years.
Ikpeazu said the challenges that came with the present year made it imperative for Nigerians to show deep gratitude to God for His love and care, and for the gift of life. He said the resurgence of COVID-19 across the country raised the need for everyone to take the issue very seriously.
Ikpeazu urged the citizens to take deliberate steps to comply with the Nigeria Center for Disease Control’s laid down protocols in order to tackle the pandemic. He reiterated the total commitment of the state government to make life better for the residents, adding that the 62 active road projects across the state would be completed on schedule.
Innhis own Christmas message, Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom called on all residents of the state to eschew tribalism and show love toward one another as they celebrate Christmas. He noted that Christmas celebration was characterised by love and exchange of gifts, adding that it was a period of reconciliation. He noted that Jesus Christ preached love, peaceful co-existence and forgiveness.
“We pray that this celebration of love will not only bring mortal enemies as friends, but will also cause some of our people, who are still in the trenches of tribalism, petty-mindedness and other vices, to emerge from the foxholes and join us to build a state which would be defined by faith, love and brotherhood.
“Let us be reminded that Christmas is only Christmas when we celebrate it by sharing gifts with our neighbours and shining the light of love to everyone,” Emmanuel said.
The governor advised those fanning embers of disunity and causing tension to desist from such. He urged Akwa Ibom people to be hopeful of a brighter future in spite of challenges. “We pray that joy, peace and hope will fill the heart of every Akwa Ibomite as we savour the joyous commemoration of the birth of our Saviour and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
“Let us remain hopeful and not be afraid because what the Lord has in store for this state in the next year and the years to come will gladden the hearts and minds of us all.
“Let love, hope and brotherhood continue to bind and shape our engagements,” he said.
The governor urged the youth to continue to be peaceful and shun anti-social tendencies, adding that the state still maintained zero tolerance for disruption of peace. He reminded the residents that novel coronavirus pandemic was still ravaging the world, and appealed them to observe all COVID-19 prevention protocols as the best option to stay safe.
Emmanuel warned that government would be left with no option than to impose another lockdown on the state if the residents would not observe the protocols.
“Let us press forward by doing all we can to stay alive and beat the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic. As you may already know, we are currently experiencing the second wave of the pandemic.
“We succeeded in stemming the rate of infection when it first hit our shores; I ask you to join hands with us again to beat this second wave. The use of facemasks, social distancing, regular hand washing, use of hand sanitiser are protocols that have worked in reducing infections. Let us remain committed to applying these protocols,” he said.
In his own message, Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi promised a handsome reward for any informant that could lead security agencies to hideouts and training ground of cultists in the state. He said that the reward became necessary as the state declared war against cultism and banditry. He added that the measure “is in a bid to ensure a safer environment for residents of the state’’. The governor said that his administration was aware of the spate of insecurity in many states.
“Ebonyi is not spared in the past few weeks. We as a people, have declared war against cultism and banditry in the state. We will offer a reward to anybody that leads us to where any cultist and their members are camping.
“We will give a handsome reward to any informant and the source of our information will be well protected while the reward will also be done in secret,’’ Umahi stated.
On Christmas celebration, the governor implored Nigerians to celebrate in peace and show kindness to their neighbours, the downtrodden, widows and the sick. Umahi further expressed worry over the increasing cases of coronavirus in Nigeria and pleaded with the people to avoid the large crowd.
“I plead with my people to embrace social distancing; I plead with them to use nose masks and hand sanitisers. In total, we have lost 32 people to COVID-19 for now in Ebonyi. We must thank God as a nation and as a state that the EndSARS protests did not consume us. We pray that we all shall see 2021,’’ the governor added.