President Muhammadu Buhari in his second personally signed message to Nigerians on Christmas eve has enjoined the citizens to pray to God and seek divine guidance to enable the nation surmount its challenges.
Nigeria is in the throes of its worst economic recession in recent decades and faces occasional disruptions to crude and gas flows by sabotage in Niger Delta.
President Buhari in his message urged Nigerians to change the narrative of our nation by learning to live in peace and learning “to tolerate and appreciate one another, respect constituted authority; and be our brothers’ keepers in word and deed.”
More important, he exhorted Nigerians to pray.
“There is no better time than now in our nation’s history to pray for divine guidance to get over our current challenges,” he said.
“I heartily rejoice with all Nigerians, particularly our Christian brothers and sisters, on this year’s celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
“As we celebrate this year’s Christmas, I believe that it is very appropriate for us to reflect on the love of God aptly espoused in the teachings and lifestyle of Jesus Christ.
“During his earthly sojourn, Jesus Christ repeatedly reminded his disciples and followers of peace that comes in the midst of trials and tribulations on earth.
“During this period, we should remember to offer special prayers to God for all our heroic citizens who paid the supreme price to restore peace and security in the North East and other flash points in the country. Let us also remember in our prayers the security forces in the frontline in the continuing battle to rid our nation of terrorism and violence.
“We must not forget the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in our midst and those who have suffered untold hardship as a result of activities of insurgents and terrorists.
“Our immediate priority is to alleviate the poverty of Nigerians by quickly stimulating the economy. I assure Nigerians that our government is doing its best to make life easier for all.
“Let us therefore, renew our hope in the God-ordained unity, progress and prosperity of our great nation.
“I wish all travellers safe movements and a memorable holiday as we celebrate with our family and friends”.
The Christmas message was the second by President Buhari today. Earlier, he announced the liberation of Sambisa Forest by Nigerian troops. The forest was hitherto the dreaded fortress of Boko Haram insurgents, who had caused much havoc in North east Nigeria.