By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari, says the nation requires the Christmas values of joy, peace, hope, love, goodwill and imminent salvation to stem the rising insecurity in the country, economic recession and the Covid-19 pandemic.
The president stated this in his 2020 Christmas message to Nigerians which was issued by his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Thursday.
He felicitated with Christians in particular and Nigerians in general on the joyous occasion of Christmas 2020, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ.
He said: “In Christendom, Christmas season represents joy, peace, hope, love, goodwill and imminent salvation.
“These worthy values which Jesus’ Advent symbolise, are very much needed in our country at this time when we are confronted with diverse challenges like rising spate of armed banditry, kidnappings, insurgency, economic recession and upsurge of COVID-19 infections.
“I wish to, therefore, enjoin fellow compatriots to appropriate the hope that comes with Christmas and reinvest trust in this Administration’s determination and unwavering commitment to restore peace, security and prosperity to our dear country.
“Under my watch, the Federal Government will continue to provide the needed support within available resources to the gallant members of our armed forces and security agencies as they confront threats to our citizens.
“While I commend them for their efforts so far, I urge them to do more to checkmate increasing incidents of security threats especially in the northern parts of the country as well as the entire nation in varying degrees.
“Their display of tact, camaraderie, and expertise that led to the recent return of abducted schoolboys of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, will remain a milestone in the annals of the country.
“For me, providing security for all residents in the country remains an article of faith. It formed a vital segment of this Administration’s three-point agenda right from inception, and we must follow through with it.
“I cannot in good conscience shirk this cardinal responsibility to secure lives and property. I feel pained each time a breach of peace and security occurs in any part of the nation.
“I am even more distressed when our youths, especially school children, are the targets and victims of mindless and malevolent elements in the society.
“As a parent, I share the emotional torture and agony parents and guardians go through whenever their children and wards fall into the cruel hands of these enemies of decency and good society.’’
He assured that in line with his campaign promise, he would continue to do his best to ensure the safety of Nigerians where ever they live in the country.
According to him, he feels pained any time there is a security breach in the country especially when young Nigerians are the victims.
The president, however, affirmed that the solution to the problem is more than the simplistic suggestion being advocated, saying that his administration would remain focused on its multidimensional approach to the incidents.
On the celebration, he called on citizens to use the season of goodwill and joy to renew their faith in the ability of his administration to make a lasting difference in the lives of hard-working people.
“Our Social Intervention measures and other economic policies are already yielding positive results even at modest rates.
“We shall deliberately target our youths so that they will not fall into the trap of unpatriotic elements to foment social disobedience leading to avoidable loss of lives and property.
“Let me reiterate that while the right to peaceful association and protest is guaranteed under our laws, this Administration will not fold its arms and watch protests, however, well-intended, degenerate into wanton killings of law enforcement and other security personnel as well as destruction of private and national assets.
“It is gladdening to note that the various schemes and components of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) are being implemented faithfully to support micro-small businesses.
“I am particularly delighted that artisans, small-time transporters, traders and farmers are the main beneficiaries as we continue to provide safety nets to the most vulnerable members of our society as well as business owners to mitigate the harsh economic environment occasioned by COVID-19.
“In spite of dwindling national revenue worsened by the pandemic, we will do all that is required to fully implement the 2021 Budget of Economic Recovery and Resilience.
“We are optimistic that all things being equal, we should be able to exit recession at the shortest possible time.’’ (NAN)