|President Muhammadu Buhari|
In his 2017 Christmas message on Saturday, he said: “I am deeply convinced that better days lie ahead for us as a nation as we make progress on all the major fronts where we have set our energies to surmount the challenges.’’
He said that the government had stepped up efforts to halt the upsurge in illegal trans-border movement.
Buhari said effort is on to “halt this wickedness against the upwardly mobile generation, and have evacuated some of our compatriots stranded abroad’’.
“We appeal to them to shun the allure of embarking on such perilous journeys.
“Lately, we have witnessed an upsurge in the activities of trans-border syndicates who lure our youths to modern slavery through irregular migration.’’
He also urged Nigerians to support and pray for Nigerian soldiers who are engaged in the fight against insurgents and those engaged in bringing peace to the country.
“By the same token, and keeping with the spirit of the season, our gallant troops serving in the frontlines in the fight against insurgency; those wounded, lying in the hospital, as well as civilians who have suffered the brunt of evil and wicked elements these past years, deserve our fervent goodwill and sustained prayers.
“The personal fortitude of these individuals will continue to inspire us to victory as we turn the tide against the enemy and annihilate those who work against the unity of our nation.
“ As we celebrate this Yuletide season, let us devote some time to pray and appreciate the sacrifices of members of our armed services to keep our nation safe and secure.’’
He also urged Nigerians to remember to provide refuge to those who could not enjoy Christmas at home with their families, or have been driven from their homes by insurgency or violence, particularly the Internally Displaced Persons.
“I felicitate with all Nigerians, particularly our Christian brothers and sisters, on the occasion of this year’s Christmas day celebration.
“The commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ is an important opportunity for us to show love to one another and encourage unity by spending quality time with our friends, families and the less-privileged.
“It is also an occasion to draw inspiration from the exemplary lifestyle and teachings of Jesus Christ, who constantly stood for what is right, true and honest.
“The Holy Book describes Christmas as a festival of peace, joy, healing, hope and fulfilment. It kindles great expectations in the heart, irrespective of the challenges of the moment.
“I wish you all Happy Christmas celebrations,’’ he said.
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