By Our Reporters
ABUJA—PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, lamented the unfortunate killings, kidnapping and violence, which have characterised the recent tragic incidents in some states of the federation saying “This should not be.”
In his Easter message to Nigerians, President Buhari called for cordiality and togetherness among the citizens.
The message reads: “We must reinforce the bond of brotherhood and good neighbourliness that citizens of a cohesive country must share. We must not allow the few bad elements in our communities to put asunder in our communal tendencies and chords of unity.
“I rejoice with all Nigerians, especially our Christian brethren on the glorious occasion of the celebration of Easter 2019.
“Easter is the most important feast in the Christian calendar and represents God’s redemptive mission over humanity, the triumph of light over darkness, hope over despair and good over evil.
“The Christian festival commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ is also a time to emulate the virtues of love, sacrifice, forgiveness, humility, courage and endurance, which Christ embodied and remarkably demonstrated during His earthly ministry.
“Let us use this auspicious season to show love to our neighbours, and cater to the needs of the less-privileged in our midst.
“Our nation is currently gripped with gloom over unfortunate killings, kidnappings and violence, as seen in the recent tragic incidents in some states of the federation.
“This should not be. We must reinforce the bond of brotherhood and good neighbourliness that citizens of a cohesive country must share. We must not allow the few bad elements in our communities to put asunder in our communal tendencies and chords of unity.
“I know from my regular interactions with security chiefs, state governors, victims and members of communities caught up in the unfortunate cycle of violence, that Nigerians are united against the evil minority.
“This administration will do all it takes to adequately equip and motivate our armed forces and other law enforcement agencies to enable them successfully confront these security challenges. We will not allow merchants of evil and death to overwhelm the nation. Under my watch, the nation will triumph over them – terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and the like.
“On this holy occasion, I enjoin all Nigerians to intensify prayers for peace and security to return to all parts of the country. I also urge you not to lose hope of a brighter and greater future for the country when we do the right things in love. Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.
“Once more, I wish all our Christian brothers and sisters in Nigeria and around the world celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, a Happy Easter.”
IGP directs AIGs, CPs to ensure crisis-free celebration
Meanwhile, as part of measures to ensure a peaceful Easter celebration, the acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu has directed Assistant Inspector Generals of Police and Commissioners of Police in Zonal and State Commands across the country to ensure crime-free celebrations nationwide.
A statement by Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba said: “The IGP sues for peaceful co-existence among Nigerians irrespective of their religious, political and socio-cultural leaning in consonance with the principles and teachings of Christ.
“While wishing Nigerians a happy, fruitful and hitch-free Easter Celebration, the IGP enjoins them to be security conscious and continue to provide the Force with useful information that will assist to effectively track down criminal elements in our society.”
Plateau Police deploys 2,000 personnel
Also the Plateau State Police Command has deployed 2,211 of its personnel to safeguard lives and property even as the Command advises citizens to be security conscious to avoid losing valuables to those bent on circumventing the law.
The Command in a statement issued by its Public Relations Officer, Mathias Tyopev also assured fun-seekers that adequate preparations have been put in place to ensure they have a hitch-free celebration.
Saraki, govs, clerics, others felicitate with Christians
In his Easter message, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki called on Nigerians to imbibe the value of sacrificing in the interest of the country as demonstrated by Jesus Christ whose selfless service to humanity is being commemorated across the world at this Easter period.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki said: “I believe that our country will become better if we all commit ourselves to selfless service and making sacrifices, both at the individual and collective level. I also believe that Christians, like their counterparts in other faiths, have spent the Lenten Season to stand in the gap for Nigeria in particular and humanity in general. The prayers and fasting of Nigerians have been the bulwark against all the centrifugal and centripetal forces threatening to pull our nation down. We must not relent but only need to add discipline, obedience to law and more intense patriotism to our attitude.”
Also, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State said: “As Christian faithful celebrate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Calvary this Easter season, I urge everyone to reflect on the essence of this day, the value of giving oneself and passion for the downtrodden.”
Kwara gov-elect preaches selflessness, sacrifice
In his Easter message by his media aide, Rafiu Ajakaye, the Kwara State Governor-elect, Mr. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq said: “This period reminds everyone of the sacrifice, selflessness and commitment of Jesus Christ. I, therefore, call on Nigerians, especially Kwarans, to reflect on the lessons of Easter and translate same to everyday event in our lives.
Lord’s Chosen holds Easter retreat
Meanwhile, the Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Renewal Ministries has perfected plans to host a special two-day Easter programme titled God’s covenant of peace and blessing, at its Revival Ground, Along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, Lagos.
The church’s Director of Public Relations, Pastor Chidi Louis said the special programme is divinely inspired to help bring to mind the significance of Easter which symbolizes the victory of Jesus Christ over death and which by extension is the victory over hopelessness and misery.
Pastor Louis said: “This weekend as we return to God with apology for our sin, peace shall return to all and the entire country shall rejoice. There shall be reign of blessing of peace and joy.”
Clerics urge Nigerians to reflect on Christ’s sacrifice
On their part, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins and his Anglican counterpart, Rt. Revd Humphrey Olumakaiye urged Christians to reflect on the sacrifice of Christ and His death on the cross.
Speaking at the Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos during a Chrism Mass where the Feast of Priesthood was celebrated, Archbishop Martins challenged newly elected politicians at different levels to use the positions entrusted in their care for the benefit of the people.
He said: “All Christians must strive and ensure that the discipline of Lent which they have endured for the past 40 days is not left aside.”
Also speaking, the Rt. Revd. Humphrey Olumakaiye, the Diocesan Bishop of Lagos in his message described Good Friday as a historic day because it brought freedom and salvation to mankind.
Air Peace deploys B777 for Easter operations
Air Peace airline yesterday said it will deploy its wide-body Boeing 777 aircraft for its domestic operations on the Port Harcourt-Abuja and Abuja-Port Harcourt routes today and Easter Monday.
Confirming the deployment of the aircraft, Air Peace Corporate Communications Manager, Mr. Chris Iwarah said the airline decided to deploy its Boeing 777 aircraft at Easter to ”give Nigerians and the travelling public a taste of the luxury to expect on our international routes starting soon. The deployment of our beautiful big birds, the Boeing 777 on our domestic routes this Easter begins with our Port Harcourt-Abuja and Abuja-Port Harcourt services on Easter Friday and Monday.”
Iwarah said: “Although our decision to deploy our wide-body aircraft on the domestic routes has huge financial implications for us, we are pleased to honour our pledge never to spare anything in giving our esteemed customers an exceptional feel of air travel experience.
“In the next few days, we will be announcing a firm date for the commencement of our international operations. We plan to operate long-haul flight services to Sharjah, Dubai, Johannesburg, London, Houston, Guangzhou and Mumbai.”
Lagos Mainland Diocese holds special Easter Cantata
Meanwhile, lovers of Christian music are in for a special treat this Easter as the Diocesan Choir of the Anglican Diocese of Lagos Mainland holds an Easter cantata on Sunday 28th April at the Cathedral Church of St. Jude, Ebute Meta.
The cantata will feature G. F. Handel’s “Messiah” and many favourite Easter hymns.
A combined 250-member Diocesan choir accompanied by a 40-man orchestra, organ and top soloists will feature in the progamme, which is directed by Sir Emeka Nwokedi.
The programme is part of the process of building a strong musical culture in the Lagos Mainland Diocese with a view of making it a centre for excellence in church music in Nigeria.