President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, said his administration has been emboldened by the spirit of Easter that soon, Good would triumph over evil, adding that the recurring insecurity and uncertainties that currently prevailed across the country would be over in no time.
In the same spirit, the President of the Senate and former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, have preached love and sacrifice amongst the Nigerian people, in the spirit of Easter, which commences today, the Good Friday.
This is as the the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Baba, yesterday ordered Police personnel to be firm and ruthless with criminal elements, who might want to take advantage of the festive period to perpetrate their unholy acts.
Buhari, who gave the assurance yesterday in his Easter message to Nigerians, charged the citizenry to extend love to themselves even as they showed more patriotism about Nigeria, reminding all that it was their only country of birth.
“Easter also evokes in us the resilience of the human spirit not to give up in the face of seemingly daunting challenges of life. This period emboldens us to believe that the current spate of uncertainty and insecurity will soon unfold a season of triumph of good over evil; hope over despair, and light over darkness,” he said.
According to the president, the emphasis that the Holy Scriptures placed on the essence of love, had become more relevant for Nigerians today and Nigeria as a nation, saying it was this element that would contribute to the nation’s peace and development.
In the message personally signed by him, Buhari stated, “I join our Christian brothers and sisters to celebrate this year’s Easter, which is the most significant event/festival in the Christian calendar.
“This year’s celebration is very unique for adherents of the two great faiths in Nigeria. It culminates the 40-day season of Lent for Christians, where the faithful is expected to fast, pray, assist the poor, abhor injustice and strife, give alms, penitently engage in self-examination and repentance of sins.
“Similar values apply to the Muslim faithful, currently about half-way into the holy month of Ramadan. For us, as a nation, the message of Easter, which commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ after crucifixion and burial, reminds us of the power of divine love, faith and redemption.
“I urge us to increase our love for one another rather than hate, and show more patriotism, as this is the only country we have. I enjoin us, therefore, to live out the eternal words of Jesus Christ on the cross: ‘’Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.’
“Let us remember that the scriptural emphasis of love, has so much relevance for us today as a nation more than ever before, and thus contribute towards its peace and development.
“As we approach another season of electioneering, let the security and unity of the nation guide our actions and utterances. I wish all Nigerians a joyful and blessed Easter,” he stated.
Lawan, in a statement personally signed, said, “I heartily felicitate Nigerians, particularly, the Christians, as they join their brethren across the world in celebrating Easter, the season of the remembrance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ,” adding that, “Easter marks the trial, sacrifice, victory and completion of the divine mandate of the author of the Christian faith.”
However, while celebrating Easter with Christians, Lawan said, “As we celebrate the unique occasion, let us keep in mind the significance of the season, which is the perfect demonstration of sacrificial love to others. As it ended in triumph, the season should also rekindle our hope of victory over personal and communal challenges.
“Therefore, the triumph of Christ should encourage all people of faith to be hopeful of victory against trials and challenges, whether as individuals or as a nation. This occasion powerfully reminds us that no challenge is insurmountable.
“I assure us that the government will continue to work for the realisation of the dreams of Nigerians of enduring national peace, unity and progress. The National Assembly will also continue to provide the necessary Legislative interventions to support every effort made to take Nigeria out of the current insecurity and economic challenges.”
On his part, Atiku, who called on Nigerians to emulate the virtues of love and sacrifice which characterised the life of Jesus Christ, in a message by his media office in Abuja, stressed that love and sacrifice were essential to the unity that Nigeria so desperately neededat this time, when vested and provincial interests threatened to tear the nation apart.
“This weekend, we join our Christian brothers and sisters in Nigeria and across the world to celebrate the Easter festivities. This commemoration is a time for deep reflection as it marks the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and his victory over death. It is a time to reach out to our brothers and sisters in need.
“It is also a time for all of us — regardless of faith, or ethnicity — to come together to pray for the peace of our nation. We must all remain constant in our efforts to promote unity — across all lines — because united, our nation remains stronger and we thrive as a people,” he said.
He, therefore, expressed belief that in this season, Nigeria would rise and overcome her national challenges, “because our shared experiences are bringing us to the conclusion that no matter what the forces of evil can do, we as Nigerians, united as one in doing good, can and will prevail.”
While encouraging Nigeria’s leaders to use the opportunity of Easter celebration to reflect on their stewardship to the people and the nation, he said, “Our leaders at all levels should follow the virtues that define this season – sacrifice, love, and charity – and come together to help all Nigerians resolve the differences that divide us.”
The IG, while directing intensive security patrols of all public spaces and critical national assets across the country, specifically ordered Commissioners of Police (CPs) in the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and their supervising Assistant Inspectors-General of Police (AIGs) to ensure adequate deployment of police personnel, and operational assets to areas of security interest within their respective areas of responsibility.
He, however, gave the directive as he made good his promise to effect the promotion of 21,039 rank and file personnel of the Nigeria Police.
Further directing that supervising officers should ensure that confidence-boosting, proactive, and high visibility patrols were carried out along the highways, motor parks, train stations, airports, worship centres, recreation centres, banks, and other financial institutions, he said they should also take adequate measures to provide a peaceful, crime-free, and enabling environment for religious, cultural and other socio-economic activities to thrive.
A statement issued by Force Headquarters said the Commissioners of Police and their supervising AIGs were directed to ensure proper supervision of the men assigned roles.
“They must be professional and courteous to law-abiding citizens but firm and ruthless to criminal elements, who might want to take the advantage of the festive period to perpetrate their unholy acts,” it said.
In order to give effect to the directive, the IGP Monitoring Unit and X-Squad were given marching orders to monitor and police activities of police officers policing the highways to ensure respect for the rights of citizens and operational conformity with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and Rules of Engagement (RoE) of the Force; the Complaint Response Unit, vis-à-vis Public Complaint Bureau, have equally been charged to respond swiftly to complaints received from the general public.
While felicitating with Nigerians, and the Christian community in particular, on the commemoration of the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the IG thanked the citizenry for their support and called on them to continue to cooperate with the Nigeria Police and other security agencies by providing timely information that would help in the prevention and detection of crime.
Against this backdrop, the IG has approved the promotion of 21,039 junior police officers, who were last promoted on or before 2017.
A separate statement by Force Headquarters said the promotion, which comprised the elevation of 20,572 sergeants to the next rank of inspector, 324 corporals to sergeants, and 143 constables to the rank of corporal, was part of the ongoing efforts aimed at improving welfare, conditions of service, boosting the morale of personnel, with a view to repositioning the force for greater efficiency.
The IG further noted that the promotion of the officers was part of the manpower development drive of his administration to ensure that deserving personnel were promoted accordingly to encourage hard work, and further embed the culture of merit, excellence and dedication to duties.
The IG assured senior police officers that the police high command was liaising with the Police Service Commission (PSC) on the release of their promotion, expected to be approved and released as soon as possible.
Baba, while commending the newly promoted officers for their resilience and invaluable commitment to duty, charged them to see their promotion as a call for renewed zeal, vigour, patriotism to duty, and further re-dedication to professional policing standards, even as he restated the commitment of his administration to entrench longstanding reforms in the Nigeria Police.