By Bukar Bolori
The Federal Government has declared Monday 27th, Tuesday 28th December 2021 and Monday, 3rd January 2022 as public holidays to mark Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day celebrations respectively.
Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who made the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government, in a statement signed on Wednesday by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Interior, Dr. Shuaib Belgore felicitated with Christians and all Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora on this year’s Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Aregbesola enjoined Christians to practice the doctrines of Christ, which include but not limited to these – faith, hope and love.
He said: “We must emulate the life of Jesus Christ in His practice and teachings on Humility, Service, Compassion, Patience, Peace and Righteousness, that His birth signifies. This will be the best way to portray Christ and celebrate his birth.”
He reiterated that peace and security are two critical conditions for economic development and prosperity, while urging Christians and Nigerians to make the best use of the festive period to pray for the total eradication of insecurity bedevilling our dear nation.
He however strongly charged Nigerians not to be lulled into a false sense of security on COVID-19 pandemic but to note that it is increasingly assuming a very dangerous and harmful dimension with the emergence of a virulent variant, Omicron, insisting that: “This calls for deliberate responsibility and discipline on the part of all.”
Meanwhile, he enjoined all to adhere strictly to and observe all the stipulated non-pharmaceutical protocols and guidelines such as wearing of facemasks, frequent washing of hands with soap and water, using of hand sanitizer and avoidance of large groups; and advised that quick report to medical authorities of any respiratory illness observed in self and others before, during and after the Yuletide.
He said this Yuletide calls for spartan discipline in order to prevent the spread of the virus in our community and the nation as a whole, insisting on: “Moderately celebrate the festival without large groupings and observe all the protocols stipulated by medical authorities. Take it as a point of personal responsibility to prevent the spread of the virus”.
The Minister also assured that the Government has put in place effective measures for the security of lives and property and expects Nigerians to support the efforts of security agencies by providing useful information that will assist them in the performance of their duties.
He admonished all citizens to remain focused and expresses confidence that the year 2022 would be a better year for us all, wishing all Christians in particular a happy Christmas and all Nigerians a peaceful and prosperous New Year celebration.