Easter message: Buhari preaches hope amid COVID-19 pandemic

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has urged Nigerians to emulate Jesus Christ by imbibing a spirit of sacrifice and perseverance to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buhari, who said this in his Easter address on Friday, stated that the year’s commemoration of Easter came amid the grip with which COVID-19 held the entire world.

Describing the pandemic as unprecedented in living memory, he added that it was unusual and unfortunate that majority of Christians had found themselves marking Easter in a subdued manner, away from the usual congregation in churches.

The President said, “I rejoice with our Christian brothers and sisters as well as all Nigerians on the occasion of the celebration of this year’s Easter.

“However, I wish to enjoin our Christian compatriots to rekindle their faith in Christ who overcame persecution, sufferings and displayed endurance, steadfastness and above all piety.

“ I urge you to imbibe and live the values of humility, discipline, perseverance, sacrifice and obedience which Jesus Christ demonstrated during His stay on earth.”

Buhari stated that Jesus Christ represented man’s ability to withstand temporary pains in the hope of everlasting glory.

According to him, there is no better opportunity than now for all Christians, in particular, and Nigerians, in general, to remain faithful and hopeful that, with intensified prayers backed by personal and collective responsibility, the nation shall pull through this most difficult trial.

“I have no doubt that, if all stakeholders — individuals and groups — play their part to the fullest as advised by our scientists and medical experts in confronting COVID-19, the inherent resilience and determination of our people will enable us to pull through.

“As I stated in my national broadcast on Sunday, March 29, 2020, since there is currently no known vaccine against the virus, ‘the best and most efficient way to avoid getting infected is through regular hygiene and sanitary practices as well as social distancing,’” he added.

Buhari warned that, while the COVID-19 pandemic was seen as a global challenge, his regime was not oblivious of the constant threat posed to national security by terrorists and insurgents.

“They may take this opportunity to perpetrate attacks. But our armed forces and other security and intelligence services will remain vigilant and continue to contain these threats and consolidate efforts to eradicate them completely,” he said.

The President urged Nigerians to make the most of the situation and to keep safe.

He commended the “encouraging” containment and ameliorating strategies put in place by members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, saying, “I am very much aware of the personal and collective inconveniences suffered by our people due to measures such as restriction of movements and closure of business premises.

“Being ‘a matter of life and death,’ these sacrifices are in everybody’s interest to save our country from calamity.

“The welfare of our people is paramount. Accordingly, the most economically vulnerable in our communities will continue to be uppermost in our plans, and efforts will be made to supply them with basic means of survival.”

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