Arewa, others preach unity, love at Easter

April 21, 2019

THE Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has urged Nigerians to help the government to win the war against insecurity.

In its Easter message by its National Publicity Secretary, Muhammad Ibrahim Biu, ACF argued that the task of overcoming kidnapping, insurgency, cattle rustling, banditry and the ethnic clashes could not be left to government alone.

The statement reads: “Christians all over the world celebrate Easter with prayers and activities of self-sacrifice for the common good of the society. The period commemorates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ which gives Christians the opportunity to reflect on the exemplary life and good teachings of Jesus Christ that include his tolerance, forgiveness, love and self-sacrifice for the good of humanity and strive to live up His legacies at all time.

“The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ have united Christians to be one people through the promotion of core value of humanity that comes with sacred inviolability of the individual. We are now equal before God.

“ACF, therefore, wishes Nigerians, especially Christians, happy celebration and also urges all Nigerians, no matter their status to practice the virtue of tolerance, forgiveness, self-sacrifice, good neighbourliness and love for one another, and continue to pray for peaceful coexistence, harmony, stability and prosperity for all.

“It is against such backdrop that ACF wishes to submit that the task of overcoming security challenges posed by kidnapping, insurgency, cattle rustling, banditry and the unnecessary clashes between various ethnic groups cannot be left to government alone.

“All leaders and Nigerians should come together and live up the synergistic potential against collective challenges for common good. Specifically, ACF calls on the governments at all levels and Security Agencies to intensify their operations and also maintain surveillance in the red alert states until peace and normalcy are restored.

“But for the needed normalcy to return, all Nigerians must also play their roles of providing support by way of intelligence to the security agencies which would enable them to succeed.

“Now that the 2019 general elections are over with winners declared at both the Federal and State levels, the Forum wishes to appeal to our leaders to note that no society thrives on the victory of its faction but through ultimate reconciliation and inclusiveness. Victory and defeat are never final.

“The governments should, therefore, hit the ground running by making Nigerians become one in favour of good governance needed for the good of all.”

Air Chief celebrates Easter with frontline troops

Chief of the Air Staff Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar has celebrated Easter with troops deployed in the Northwest to flush out bandits, kidnappers and other criminals.

According to the spokesman of the Air Force, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, the troops were called upon to remain resolute in their commitment to ensuring the safety of lives and properties in the zone.

He explained, in a statement, that the Air Chief also expressed satisfaction with the performance of the troops so far.

Air Commodore Daramola said: “The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has hosted officers, airmen and airwomen of the Air Task Force (ATF), Operation DIRAN MIKIYA, to a luncheon to mark the 2019 Easter Celebration.

“The occasion, which held at the ATF Headquarters in Katsina, provided an opportunity for the CAS to interact with the troops who have been working tirelessly to restore peace and stability in the Northwest of Nigeria.

“Addressing the troops, the Air Officer Commanding, Special Operations Command, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Napoleon Bali, who represented the CAS at the event, expressed satisfaction with the performance of the ATF.

“He extended the good wishes of the CAS and encouraged the personnel to remain resolute while sustaining their efforts towards eliminating the activities of armed bandits in Zamfara and surrounding States with a view to ensuring peace in the Country.

“AVM Bali lauded the magnanimity of the CAS in ensuring that the personnel have a few hours to unwind in celebration of the holy season. He said this would no doubt boost their morale and assuage the pains of their inability to celebrate the season with their families.

“He also commended the Commander 213 Forward Operations Base Katsina, Group Captain Hadi Ahmed, for providing necessary base services support to ensure the smooth operations of the ATF.

“Also present at the luncheon were the Commander 17 Brigade Nigerian Army, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Colonel Buhari Madaki, as well as officials and staff of civil agencies operating at the Musa Yar’Adua International Airport.”

Lagos Speaker asks Nigerians to emulate Jesus

Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker Mudashiru Obasa has urged Nigerians to emulate the spirit of love, sacrifice and forgiveness displayed by Jesus Christ during his lifetime.

Obasa added that these qualities were essential in nation-building and socio-economic growth and development of any society.

The Lagos Assembly Speaker’s message was contained in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Musbau Rasak.

“Jesus Christ was an embodiment of love throughout his lifetime. He preached forgiveness throughout and even displayed such on the cross. To cap it all, he eventually sacrificed his life for his people. These are essential qualities for us to imbibe and practise for us to grow as a nation and achieve greatness,” said Obasa, who is also the Chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria.

He expressed appreciation to Nigerians for their support and prayers for the All Progressives Congress (APC) government at national and state level, saying the party would not relent in reciprocating the support and prayers by putting in place programmes and projects that will enhance their standard of living and improve their welfare.

“We, in the APC, appreciate the prayers and support of Nigerians for our administration at all levels. I want to assure you that we will continue to reciprocate the prayers and support by putting in place programmes and projects that will improve the standard of living of our people and enhance their welfare,” he said.

“On behalf of my colleagues in the Lagos State Assembly, I wish Nigerians, especially, Christians, a happy Easter celebration,” the Lagos Assembly Speaker said.

NUPENG: learn from the lessons of Easter

The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has urged Nigerians to learn from the pain, love and caring which define the Easter celebrations.

Its statement reads: “The National Executive Council (NEC) of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) join all our members, staff and the entire Christian community during the celebrations of Easter in commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“These celebrations are worthy finale to the sacred period of fasting, prayer and self-denial which Christians had gone through in the past 40 consecutive days of Lent.

“It is the belief of NUPENG that such fundamental values would go a long way in promoting and strengthening the foundation of love, peace and harmony in our country, and that the season would serve as a reminder to all of the selflessness, love, sacrifice and tolerance of Jesus Christ throughout His earthly sojourn, his death and his subsequent resurrection.

“We, therefore, admonish all Nigerians to learn from the pain, joy, love and caring which define the Easter celebrations and allow these laudable virtues to continually guide us as a people in our individual, industrial and community relationships.

“We also urge those in positions of authority to strive to encourage the citizens to make a virile and purposeful sacrifice and show love especially when the country is facing challenges by making their own lives, in public and private, something transparent, and worthy of emulation for the overall good of our country.

“Whilst still in the euphoria of Easter, NUPENG prays for peace and prosperity for all Nigerians and crave them to enjoy a stress-free and violence-free celebration.”

Clerics preach sacrifice

The pastor of ECWA Good News Church, Kuje, Abuja, Jibrin Lakutto and the founder of Faith Revival Chapel, Bauchi chapter, Archbishop Charles Yohanna, have urged Christians to imbibe the culture of sacrifice as demonstrated by Jesus Christ in the spirit of Easter.

Lakutto made the call in his Easter message at ECWA Good News Church in Kuje, FCT, yesterday.

According to him, Easter celebration is the greatest feast of the Church because, without the resurrection of Christ, there would be no hope for Christians.

He said the sacrifice by Christ was worthy of emulation, therefore, Christians should follow His footsteps through love, unity, tolerance, forgiveness and sacrifice.

“There is hope and Christ showed us there is hope on the cross; He went through suffering and at the end of the day, His resurrection brought us life.

“My message is that there is still hope because we know that Christ has risen and is alive so that we may live with Him again.

“We must live a sacrificial life just as Jesus Christ laid down His life on the Cross and on the third day He rose again,” he said.

The cleric read the book of Mark Chapter 16: 1 – 8, to remind Christians of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the significance of Easter celebration by showing love and tolerance.

He said that Christians must adhere to the commandments of God while reflecting on the virtues of Christ as they celebrate Easter.

Archbishop Yohanna, while responding to questions on Easter by reporters in Bauchi yesterday, said: “On this day, I call on every Christian to wake up and give love to humanity, irrespective of where they come from, their religion, tribe, faith and language.

“Let’s learn to be one and united, we should know that like Jesus who loves us so much, whoever we meet deserves our love and sympathy.

“Christians should emulate Christ; He paid the price for humanity with his life, not because we deserve his love and death on our behalf.

‘’However, He still paid the price because God so much loves the world that He gave His only begotten son,” he said.

On banditry in the country, Yohanna said the issue was beyond a simple approach; hence, a serious spiritual intervention was needed.

“The issue of banditry in the country is beyond a simple approach. As a cleric, I look at Nigeria as a country that has failed to receive the mercy of God.

“We need to go to God in prayers. I believe all our leaders believe in God and in prayers.

“If our leaders can encourage Nigerians to gather together, pray and turn to God, confess our sins and turn away from our unrighteousness, everything will be fine with us once again,” he said.

The archbishop also called on all Nigerians to be wary of the last day where everybody would be held accountable for his or her actions while in this world.

“Let every Nigerian remember that on the last day, everybody will give an account of his or her own life.

‘’All our leaders should also know that they are going to be held accountable for whatever they are doing now on earth,’’ he said.

Senator-elect: be ready to pay development price

Kwara South Senator-elect Lola Ashiru has urged Nigerians to be ready to pay the price for the development of the country.

Ashiru, in his Easter message to Christians, said: “In our sober reflection, I enjoin us all to imbibe the teaching of Christ to love our neighbours as yourself, to remain united in peace and be willing to pay the price needed for the development of our community and nation at large.

“I commemorate with the Christian faithful in remembrance of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“Jesus Christ, who is an embodiment of peace, love and sacrifice laid down his life for the restitution of mankind.

Even at a time of inconvenience, he paid the ultimate price for the redemption of humanity. His sacrifice marks the victory of life over death.”

Why govt can’t cater for the needy, by Bishop

The Catholic bishop of Awka Diocese, Anambra State, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, has blamed corruption for the inability of government at all levels to make provisions for the less privileged.

The cleric spoke yesterday in Awka while donating relief materials, including food items and clothing as well as a cash gift to over 500 less privileged persons in the state.

He explained that it was the responsibility of the government to cater for the poor and the needy in the society and would only be failing if those provisions were not made.

Ezeokafor said he was among those who believe that God blessed Nigeria with lots of natural and material resources and if well harnessed would be more than enough to cater for the less privileged.

He regretted that while some developed countries have provisions for the poor, the reverse was the case in Nigeria, where those who work hard receive their salaries.

He said: “It is good to provide welfare packages for the less privileged. But how can this be possible where those who work hard receive their salaries, not to talk of those who are not working?

According to him, the cost of running the government in the country had been very expensive, saying: “If these things are cut down, there will be enough to take care of these people.”

He went on: “Government must do something, otherwise they will be failing in their responsibility and if they are with regards to these poor people, I wonder what they will tell God at the end of the day?” he added.

The Catholic prelate explained that the gesture was not predicated on religious sentiments, stressing that religious beliefs were of no consequence while showing charity.

He said: “Today’s act of love is special. We call it Easter Celebration with the poor. There’s no how you’ll be sharing things and be looking at people’s faces. That will be ridiculous and funny.

“Any human being that is poor is poor and should be catered for irrespective of his religious affiliations. We’re doing this for humanity and not for religious sentiments.

“God has commanded us to show charity and that’s exactly what we’re doing. As a pastor, people give to us and from what they give to us we share with others.

“It makes us participate in their poverty just as we’re participating in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You can see from their faces that they are happy and I wish they will be happier.

“We pray that other privileged persons in the society will see the need to also do something to ameliorate the suffering of the poor and needy.”

Lawan urges Nigerians to use Easter to heal wounds, reunite

Senate Leader Ahmad Lawan yesterday asked Nigerians to use the Easter period to heal wounds and reunite across the board.

He also assured that a greater tomorrow awaits the nation.

Lawan, who made the plea in a statement in Abuja, urged Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of hope.

The statement said: “As our Christian brothers and sisters mark the Easter celebration, I urge all Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of hope, forbearance and reconciliation it offers as we seek to build a nation where peace and justice shall reign.

“We should also take advantage of this period to heal wounds and reunite across the board so that the prosperity promised by this administration, which is well within our capacity as a people, will be actualised.

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