President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said it’s “unfortunate” that Christians will celebrate Easter in a “subdued manner, away from the usual congregation in churches.”
Buhari had ordered a lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States for 14 days in a bid to combat the spread of Coronavirus across the country.
This had led to the restriction of both social and religious gatherings.
However, Buhari in his Easter message urged Christians to rekindle their faith in Christ because they will overcome.
In the message he personally signed, Buhari rejoiced with Christian brothers and sisters, as well as all Nigerians on the occasion of the celebration of this year’s Easter.
He said: “This year’s commemoration of Easter comes amid the grip with which Covid-19 has held the entire world.
“Unprecedented in living memory, the majority of Christians have found themselves marking Easter in a subdued manner, away from the usual congregation in churches. This is unusual and very unfortunate.
“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.
“Jesus Christ represented man’s ability to withstand temporary pains in the hope of everlasting glory.
“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.”
He urged Christians to intensify prayers and remain steadfast so Nigeria can pull through this difficult time.
“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.
“May I use this opportunity to commend the encouraging containment and ameliorating strategies put in place by members of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19,” he said.
Lamenting that the restriction was affecting Nigerians, Buhari, however, appealed for patience stressing that the measure was in the interest of all.
He said: “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.
“While we see the Covid-19 pandemic as a global challenge, this administration is not oblivious of the constant threat posed to our 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.
“As we mark this year’s Easter, whatever the circumstances, I encourage you to make the most of the situation, and to keep safe.”