World leaders, statesmen, politician, top government officials, religious leaders and other organisations yesterday renewed the global call for peace and unity as Christians across the globe marked Easter.
Catholic Pontiff Pope Francis described this year’s celebration as “Easter of War”, alluding to the Russian-Ukrainian war, which has led to loss of lives and destruction of property.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, Governors Simon Lalong (Plateau), Darius Ishiaku (Taraba) and Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), felicitated with Christians, urging them to contribute to peaceful co-existence.
It is ‘Easter of War’
Pope Francis called for peace in Ukraine during this “Easter of war” as he delivered the traditional Easter Sunday Urbi et Orbi address on St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican.
“May there be peace for war-torn Ukraine, so sorely tried by the violence and destruction of the cruel and senseless war into which it was dragged,” the pontiff said.
“Our eyes, too, are incredulous on this Easter of war.”
“May the leaders of nations hear people’s plea for peace.”
“Let there be a decision for peace. May there be an end to the flexing of muscles while people are suffering.
“Our hearts, too, have been filled with fear and anguish, as so many of our brothers and sisters have had to lock themselves away in order to be safe from bombing,” the Pope said.
The pontiff pointed out that two years of the coronavirus pandemic had taken “a heavy toll.”
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“It was time to come out of the tunnel together, hand in hand, pooling our strengths and resources. Instead, we are showing that we still have within us the spirit of Cain, who saw Abel, not as a brother, but as a rival, and thought about how to eliminate him,” he added.
Pope Francis sympathised with many Ukrainian victims, especially the millions of refugees and internally displaced persons, the divided families, the elderly left to themselves, the lives broken and the cities razed to the ground.
He said: “I see the faces of the orphaned children fleeing from the war. May the conflict in Europe also make us more concerned about other situations of conflict, suffering and sorrow, situations that affect all too many areas of our world, situations that we cannot overlook and do not want to forget.”
Nigeria’ll be peaceful again, says Osinbajo
Vice President Osinbajo said Nigeria will be peaceful again, assuring Nigerians of more prosperous future for all, regardless of current challenges.
Osinbajo stated this in a chat with reporters, shortly after the Easter Sunday service at the State House Chapel, Aso Villa, Abuja.
He said: “My message is really a prayer. The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is a defining moment for us Christians. And one of the most important things to bear in mind is the resuscitation of hope.
“Where there is despair, I pray that hope would be restored, where there is fear, I pray that there is courage and confidence. Where there is deprivation, I pray that there is prosperity, and there is abundance”, he said.
Gbajabiamila: unity is key
Gbajabiamila congratulated Christians, calling for unity and peace among Nigerians.
He made the call on Sunday in a statement by his media aide, Lanre Lasisi.
Gbajabiamila, who noted the period calls for sober reflection and dedication to nationhood, urged Christians to be their brothers’ keepers at all times.
The Speaker also asked all citizens to support the government in its efforts to tackle the insecurity in the country.
He called for concerted efforts to contain insecurity across the country, noting that as a nation, Nigeria is currently facing one of its most daunting challenges.
He stated that in the spirit of Easter, Nigerians should continue to live peacefully with one another, irrespective of any perceived differences.
Lalong: Nigeria has bright future
Lalong urged Nigerians to reflect on peace, love and hope for a better Nigeria.
Lalong in a message to mark the event said the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is at the centre of the Christian faith, guarantees victory because despite the agony Jesus passed through, his sufferings brought emancipation and redemption to mankind.
He urged Nigerians to embrace the lessons of Christ’s sacrifice and teachings which speak of resilience, love, patience and determination to overcome evil and provide better situation.
The governor said the current security situation and other challenges call for determination and collaboration among all Nigerians to work together to defeat the forces of evil who are bent on causing pain and agony to the innocent citizens.
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Ishaku seeks citizens support on fight against insecurity
Ishaku called on residents to support government’s efforts at fighting insecurity.
The governor also called for extra vigilance on the part of the people to check the alarming spate of kidnappings, killings and other forms of crimes and criminality.
This is contained in the Easter message issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Bala Dan-Abu, in Jalingo.
Ishaku advised the people to report suspicious persons visiting the state to security agencies for prompt action.
AbdulRazaq preaches reunion
Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq called on Nigerians to seek God’s favour for the country.
The governor made the appeal in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye.
He urged Nigerians to reunite against all forces of evil seeking to terrorise people and tear the country apart with violence and economic sabotage.
AbdulRazaq described Easter as the season of reunion, self-discipline, sacrifice, forgiveness and commitment to God.
He said: “Let us come together to fight all forces of evil that work against peace and development this Easter and beyond.
“I wish everyone greater strides and glad tidings as we recommit ourselves to a better Nigeria and stronger ties as a community of people, bound by common destiny.”
Sanwo-Olu preaches harmony
Babajide Sanwo-Olu urged Nigerians to emulate Christ’s virtues of humility, perseverance and compassion.
The governor also urged Christians to continue to live in peace and harmony with people of other faiths, noting that good neighbourliness, selflessness and patience were among the lessons taught and exemplified by our Lord Jesus Christ.
Governor Sanwo-Olu, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, implored Nigerians, especially Christians, to seek the face of God for continuous peace in Lagos State, an end to insurgency and other insecurity challenges in the country.
He said: “As Christians, this period offers us an opportunity to rethink our relationships as individuals, as communities and as a nation. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ typifies love, affection and tolerance. It also marked the end of evil and the beginning of good deeds. I want to urge us to emulate the virtues of Jesus Christ by positively impacting the lives of friends, colleagues, associates, neighbours and family members.
“As we celebrate this year’s Easter, I want to urge Christian faithful in the state to continue to pray for continuous peace in our dear State, Lagos and end to insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, insurgency and other insecurities.”
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