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At Easter, IGP orders tight security

Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins in procession at this year’s Chrism Mass at the Holy Cross Catholic Cathedral, Catholic Mission Street, Lagos PHOTO: CHARLES OKOLO

Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins in procession at this year’s Chrism Mass at the Holy Cross Catholic Cathedral, Catholic Mission Street, Lagos<br />PHOTO: CHARLES OKOLO

• Leaders preach peace, hope, unity, patience
• Muslim clerics, youths on goodwill visit to Kaduna church

As Nigerian Christians join their counterparts in other parts of the world to mark Easter in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Solomon Arase, has directed all zonal and state commands to beef up security around worship centres, recreational areas and places with high concentration of people to ensure safety.

Meanwhile, religious and political leaders including the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, His Grace , Alfred Adewale Martins, Dean Emeritus, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and Diocesan Bishop of Lagos, Most Revd Adebola Ademowo and Senate President Bukola Saraki have been sending goodwill messages as well as canvassing unity, peace, forgiveness, humility and piety and religious tolerance among other virtues at Easter.

And indicative of peaceful co-existence, inter-religious harmony and tolerance in Nigeria , a group of Muslim clerics and youths yesterday paid an Easter goodwill visit to Pastor Yohanna Buru , General Overseer of Christ Evangelical Intercessory Fellowship Ministry, Sabon Tasha , Kaduna.

A statement issued yesterday in Abuja by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO) Olabisi Kolawole said Arase “directed all zonal (Assistant Inspectors General) AIGs and state Command Commissioners of Police (CPs) to take all necessary measures towards ensuring the provision of adequate security for worshippers, travellers, picnickers and all citizens across the country before, during and after the festive season.

“Command Commissioners of Police are to personally ensure that all key and vulnerable points within their jurisdictions, including places of worship, recreation centres, motor parks, highways, financial institutions and all places of public resort are adequately and effectively protected.”

Arase also advised operators of motor parks, shopping malls and recreational centres to work very closely with the police and other security agencies as they strive to strengthen general security in their respective facilities.

Speaking through the Director of Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Msgr. Gabriel Osu, Archbishop Martins noted that millions of Nigerians were going through excruciating hardship occasioned by the existing economic realities. He assured them that the downturn was only a temporal challenge that was surmountable with prayer.

Martins said: “It is no longer news that Nigeria is going through very tough times as it is evident in the high rate of inflation, low value of the naira and rising rate of unemployment across the country. But I want to state here that we must not lose hope. I know the government is making effort to solve the numerous problems confronting us. We also have a responsibility to call them to order whenever we feel they are going on the wrong track. While we make the necessary sacrifices to get us out of the wood, we must also remain resolute in our prayers, believing that God Almighty would never let us down.”

On his part, Ademowo in his Good Friday message said: “Good Friday teaches us to jettison all forms of abuses like gross corruption, kidnapping, stealing, violence and all forms of decay in our system that has put the nation where we are today. It is of paramount importance to call on the citizens of this great country in the spirit of the season to imbibe the true spirit of nation building, which is characterised by sacrificial living as against the cankerworm of greed and grabbing which has eaten deep into the fabric of our nation.

“I urge all those in position of authorities, trust and responsibilities to seek the common good instead of individual comfort and interest. They should be sacrificial in their services to our great nation. Let us determine in our hearts to promote the ideals of transparency, honesty and have living faith in God to move our country forward.”

In a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki urged Christians to use the celebration to pray for sustainable peace and economic growth in the country.

He said that it was “imperative for all Nigerians to borrow a leaf from the humility and sacrifice exhibited by Christ when he yielded his life for the redemption of mankind.”

Also, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has charged Nigerians to engage in sober reflection, make sacrifices and tolerate one another .The governor who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Kingsley Fanwo in a statement made available to The Guardian in Lokoja yesterday, called on the people of the state to emulate the selfless spirit of Jesus Christ.

The delegation of Muslim clerics and youths who were led by Alaramma Abdulrahman Mohammad Bichi said the reason for the visit was to congratulate Christians all over the world over the successful completion of the 40 days Lenten fast, which he described as season of total repentance, prayers and fasting.

He also called on Christian leaders in the country to partner their counterparts in Islam to use lessons of Easter to build a strong , and united Nigeria.

Receiving the delegation, Pastor Buru said: “We must join hands to shun all form of ethno-religious differences and pray for peace ,unity and stability of the country.”

He asked religious leaders to redouble effort in preaching peace and encouraging religious tolerance among their followers.



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