Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) popularly called Shi’ites, yesterday, attended a Christmas service at the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, Diocese of Zaria
Leader of the team, Prof. Isa Hassan-Mshelgaru said the essence was to promote love, tolerance and understanding among Nigerians.
“We came to celebrate the Christmas with fellow Christians here because we consider them as our brothers and we don’t have anything to give them than to come and celebrate this day with them.
“As they consider this day very important, we also consider it very important, we feel that we should come and visit them so that to clear some of the unnecessary imaginary boundaries that have been created.
“There are some imaginary boundaries that could not be seen that kept us far away from each other, so, we want to bridge this gap so that we come together as brothers and sisters living in the same country and same locality,” he said.
Hassan-Mshelgaru appealed to other Nigerians, whether Muslims, Christians or traditionalists to shun all forms of hatred.
“You can be a Muslim, a Christian or a Traditionalist, always bear in mind that religion should be a platform for bringing people together not separating them.
“So, my appeal is that Nigerians should come together under the same umbrella as we live in the same country to ensure a united and formidable country envy of other nations,” he said.
Vicar of the Church, Rev. Isuwa Sa’idu, urged the group to sustain the tempo for the good of the nation.
“In fact, I am so excited that they can think of a thing like this to come and visit us on Christmas Day celebration like this.”
According to him, the visit showed that Nigerians are looking for peace and they are actually pursuing it and not just pursuing it with words but with action.
“So, their action of rising to come to visit us has shown that truly we have found that peace.
“Because Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace and if everybody will behave like our friends and brothers, the Muslim Brothers, I don’t think we will have problems in this country.
“Is just share of misunderstanding of what we are and who we are and where we represent that we lack peace today, we can never stay part from each other, we must and under must live together.”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) have said workers and pensioners deserve the best of care and welfare as they were the ones that turn the wheel that creates wealth.
In a Christmas message to workers, Ayuba Wabba, said the leadership of NLC will continue to work hard to ensure workers and pensioners recoup a measure of the joy that they invest in others.
“Workers and pensioners deserve the very best of care and welfare because we are the ones that turn the wheel that creates the wealth.
“We will not rest on our oars in the pursuit and struggle for an expeditious implementation of the new national minimum wage in all the states of Nigeria.
“We have already demanded that states which are still negotiating with the labour and those yet to set up their negotiating councils must conclude negotiations before the end of Dec. 2019 or we will send them a not too friendly New Year Gift,” he said.
Wabba commended the Federal Government and the governments of Kaduna, Kebbi, Lagos, Adamawa and Jigawa for concluding negotiations with workers and for implementing the new national minimum wage and consequential salary adjustment for workers.
“In the spirit of Christmas, we urge our political leaders and elites at every tier and arm of government to rededicate themselves to the ideals espoused by Christmas.
“We hope that in the coming year, Nigerians would reap tonnes of positive turnaround in their existential realities as a consequence of recommitment of our leaders to the common good.”
•Pope defends migrants, calls for peace in Christmas message
Pope Francis has urged the world to let the light of Christmas pierce the “darkness in human hearts” that leads to religious persecution, social injustice, armed conflicts and fear of migrants.
In his “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) Christmas Day message, the 83-year-old pope called for peace in the Holy Land, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Venezuela, Ukraine and several African countries caught up in conflicts.
The common thread of his address to tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square and millions watching or listening around the world was that change starts in the hearts of individuals.
“There is darkness in human hearts, yet the light of Christ is greater still,” Francis said, as he marked the seventh Christmas of his pontificate.
“There is darkness in personal, family and social relationships, but the light of Christ is greater. There is darkness in economic, geopolitical and ecological conflicts, yet greater still is the light of Christ,” he said.
Francis singled out the persecution of Christians by militant groups in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria, asking God to console those who suffer for their faith.
On December 1, at least 14 people were shot dead in an attack on a church in eastern Burkina Faso, where an Islamist insurgency has ignited ethnic and religious tensions.
Francis, who has been scorned by populist politicians because of his defence of refugees and migrants, dedicated a section of his address to their plight.
“It is injustice that makes them cross deserts and seas that become cemeteries. It is injustice that forces them to endure unspeakable forms of abuse, enslavement of every kind and torture in inhumane detention camps,” Francis said.
This month, Francis called for the closing of migrant detention camps in Libya.
“It is injustice that turns them away from places where they might have hope for a dignified life, but instead find themselves before walls of indifference,” he said.
Francis said that while there were many huge problems in the world, people did not have to look far to correct injustices. They could make a difference in their own communities as a start to healing all the “suffering members of our human family”.
“May (God) soften our often stony and self-centred hearts, and make them channels of his love. May he bring his smile, through our poor faces, to all the children of the world: to those who are abandoned and those who suffer violence,” Francis said.
To underscore his message, the two cardinals Francis chose to join him on the basilica’s central balcony were Renato Martino, president emeritus of the Vatican’s immigration office, and Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner who distributes aid to Rome’s poor and homeless.
“Through our frail hands, may he clothe those who have nothing to wear, give bread to the hungry and heal the sick,” he said, adding that through friendship, everyone could be close to the elderly, the lonely, migrants and marginalised people.
“On this joyful Christmas Day, may he bring his tenderness to all and brighten the darkness of this world,” he said.
•Tambuwal, Ugwuanyi, Ihedioha, Saraki: Pray for peace, unity, progress
Sokoto Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, in a statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Governor, Muhammad Bello, Governor Tambuwal said Christmas brings to the fore the urgent need for the unity of Nigeria, which he described as “sacrosanct, inviolable and paramount.”
According to him, the Yuletide season is also a period of reflection on Nigeria’s diversity so that they may understand and appreciate one another.
“Allah says in the Holy Quran that he created mankind as races and tribes so that they may understand each other. Therefore, our being together as one is a divine design that should be made to continue to exist”, he said.
Former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki called on Christians to pray for peace, unity and progress of the nation.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki noted that the period of Christmas is for celebrating a man whose life symbolise peace across the world.
“Jesus Christ who we all know to be the reason for this season preached peace and therefore it is the responsibility of all Nigerians to use this period to rededicate ourselves to working to restore peace in our country by being kind to each other and being our brother’s keeper.
“We should use this period to pray to God to restore peace in the troubled areas of our country and our personal lives. We should pray to God to stop all acts that lead to blood shed. We should avoid actions and statements which set one part of the country against the other and one person against his neighbour or brother.
“Every Nigerian should get set to emulate the good deeds, character and aspiration of Jesus Christ because that is what can help our country to develop and ensure that we all enjoy as citizens. We should be moderate in our celebrations at this period and avoid actions that violate the law of the land or further create crisis.
“I wish all Nigerians a Merry Christmas, a pleasurable Boxing Day and I pray to God to protect all of us as we get ready to end 2019 peacefully and begin a new year with so much hope and God’s blessing,” Saraki stated.
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State noted that the season offers yet another opportunity for the people to promote peace, good virtues, love and unity as well as dedicate their lives to the service of God.
He, therefore, thanked Ndi Enugu for their love, unceasing prayers, goodwill, solidarity and support, reassuring them of his firm resolve to sustain the tempo of peace and good governance in the state as well as continue to serve them with the fear of God.
Ihedioha: Reflect on the life of Jesus Christ
Governor Emeka Ihedioha called on people of Imo to take advantage of the season of Christmas to exchange goodwill and reflect on the virtues of our Lord Jesus Christ, in charity, forgiveness and sacrifice.
“The joy of Christmas must go round. At end of the festivities, we should find satisfaction in how much we gave and not how much we spent on ourselves.”
Governor Ihedioha assured of security of lives and property in the State both now and after the festivities.
He maintained that the ban on the use of all of forms of guns and explosives is still in force.
“Remember that the ban on the use of all forms of guns and explosives is still in force. You should also be alert to your neighborhoods and to report all suspicious movements to the nearest law enforcement agency.
While welcoming home, Imolites who have travelled long distances from both within and outside Nigeria in order to celebrate with relatives and loved ones, the governor appealed to all motorists to drive carefully and urged citizens to avoid all acts that are likely to cause a breach of peace.
Sen Uba urges wealthy Nigerians to reach out to the needy
In his message, Senator representing Kaduna Central, Uba Sani called on the rich to emulate Jesus Christ by remembering the poor, the weak and the sick.
“We must endeavour to give the poor, weak and the sick a helping hand and put smiles on their faces in keeping with the virtues and values which Jesus Christ espoused and pursued with vigour throughout his selfless earthly mission.
“Christ gave succour to the poor, healed the sick and strengthened the weak. We must therefore be Christ – like in our dealings with our distressed fellow countrymen and women.
“Love has departed from many Nigerian communities. Conflicts have replaced peaceful coexistence, tolerance and being our brothers and sisters keepers. May this Christmas set the stage for building of lasting peace in our communities,” he prayed.
Uba Sani in a statement he personally signed used the occasion to urge Nigerians to continue to support their leaders at all levels.
PDP BoT Chair, ACF greet Christians at Xmas
Second Republic Senator and Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Jibrin Walid has extended Christmas greetings to Christians across the country as they celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ today.
While addressing Journalists on Christmas message, Senator Walid, enjoined Muslims to visit their Christians counterpart, saying that Muslims too believe in the birth of Jesus.
This was even as Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) extended its felicitations of Christmas to all Nigerians,especially Christian brothers and sisters.
According to PDP BoT Chairman, “If Muslims believe how Jesus was born, then there should be peaceful coexistence by Christians and Muslims.
“Christians and Muslims must unite because what unite us is more than that which divide us. We must continue to live in peace”
ACF in a statement by its national Publicity Secretary, Muhammad Ibrahim said, “The 25th December of every year commemorates the birthday of Jesus Christ, the messiah. Christians world wide celebrate this day with joy, good neighborliness and love that the saviour is born for the common good of the society. Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) therefore extends its felicitations of Christmas to all Nigerians especially our Christian brothers and sisters.
“In the spirit of the seasons, ACF hereby appeals to all Nigerians to embrace the teachings of Jesus Christ namely, tolerance, love, good neighbourliness and peaceful coexistence that comes with core value of humanity.
“ACF is however disturbed with the recent reports of attacks by the Boko Haram terrorists on the Yobe State capital Damaturu and other parts of Borno State in this Yuletide period, however, the prompt action of our gallant soldiers in repelling the attacks is most commendable. ACF however urges the military to not only repel attacks, but deploy modern technology in smoking out the terrorists from their hideouts and put an end to this menace. ACF also appeal to the community to share intelligence with the security agencies, as the task of securing the nation cannot be left to the governments alone.
“ACF equally calls upon Nigerians to continue to pray for peace, harmony and understanding for the unity, progress and prosperity of our country as socioeconomic and political development can only take place in a secured environment. ACF wishes Nigerians Merry Christmas and New Year in peace and prosperity”.
Embrace values of Christmas, El-Rufai tells Christians
Kaduna Governor, Nasir El Rufai, has asked Christians to embrace values of Christmas, and appealed to all residents to pray for the state and the entire country, for peace and harmony in their communities.
In a statement by his media aide, Muyiwa Adekeye, El-Rufai stressed that the people should uphold each other and embrace the lofty values that Christmas signifies.
“This joyful festival marks the birth of Jesus Christ, famously described as the Prince of Peace. Christmas is a profound moment of hope and goodwill, and I congratulate the Christian community on this special occasion. Jesus Christ and His message are the core of the Christian faith. From the humble moment of His birth in Bethlehem, His example, teachings and sacrifice have moved men and women across the world to aspire to be better persons and to accomplish great deeds of faith and service.’’
Yahaya preaches good neighbourliness
While felicitating with Christians, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya urged the people to pray for peace, progress and prosperity of the state and the country as well as rededicate themselves and remain steadfast in prayers, which he said have immense impact on the peace, unity and stability of the society.
While assuring of his administration’s commitment to continue to initiate and execute policies and programmes aimed at promoting unity and peaceful coexistence in the state, Governor Yahaya said: “On this significant occasion of Christmas, I extend my best wishes to the Christian community and all citizens of the country.
“This period reminds us of the need to imbibe and uphold Jesus Christ’s virtues of love, selflessness and tolerance. I call on all of us, to reflect on the lessons of the season, which presents an opportunity to love and share.”
Reps PDP caucus salutes Christians
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives has felicitated with Christians in the country on the occasion of this year’s Christmas celebration.
The PDP caucus in a statement by its leader, Kingsley Chinda, on Wednesday, urged Christians to continue to exhibit the qualities of Christ in their dealings with other Nigerians.
Besides, the caucus also admonished Christians in the country to continue to pray for the peace, unity and progress of the country, especially against the backdrop of the challenges confronting the country at the moment.
“While we rejoice and celebrate with Christians on this event which marks the birth of Jesus Christ; we urge Christians to pray for the peace, unity and progress of our dear country, Nigeria, particularly against the backdrop of the numerous of challenges facing us as a Nation, especially in the area of poor management of the country’s economy and resources by an inept government, flagrant abuse of human rights; continuing rape of democracy and the destruction of the time-worn principles of sepration of powers, as well as the several avoidable killings of Nigerians and general state of insecurity in the country.
“We also urge Christians to continue to exhibit the qualities of Christ, for which the spirit of tolerance, sacrifice, mutual love and peaceful co-existence with other Nigerians are the hallmarks,” it stated.
Archbishop Okeke charges Nigerians to spread joy, peace at all times
Fetes Onitsha Correctional inmates
From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
Metropolitan Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha Most Rev. Valerian Maduka Okeke has charged Nigerians to be joy to the world by promoting peace and avoiding all actions that elicits anger, sadness and heartbreaks in the society.
Archbishop Okeke who marked the Christmas celebration yesterday with the inmates of Onitsha Correctional Services said the greatest way to be happy on earth is to seek for the happiness of others.
Dwelling on his Christmas Message titled: “Be Joy to the World”, the Archbishop said all are called to be part of the peace which people are yearning for but unwilling to give. He said Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ who is the Prince of Peace while all are invited to be followers of Christ.
“You don’t have to be a Christian, but be a follower of Christ by your behavior, by being a source of joy, source of peace , a true agent of reconciliation , a true angel of peace , a true builder of peace and giver of joy” he said.
He enumerated steps one can take to be truly joy to the world which includes –be great, not by being served but by serving others. Be rich not by receiving, not by grabbing, not by destabilizing others but by enriching others. Be happy not by doing what is popular and profitable to oneself but by doing what is right .
He admonished the inmates of Onitsha Correctional Services to be joy to the world also even in the cell noting that their momentary periods of confinement can be a stepping stone to future greatness.
The archbishop also presented various gift items to the inmates and also inspected the progress report on the skill acquisition centre he had earlier built and donated for the usage of the inmates.
Former Governor Peter Obi who accompanied the Archbishop to the Correctional Centre emphasized need to remain thankful to God at all times no matter the situation. He made a monetary donation to complement the Archbishop’s equipping of the skill acquisition centre .
Leah Shuaibu remains a grave concern for the nation, says Bishop Olumakaiye
The Bishop, Anglican Diocese of Lagos, Rt. Rev. Humphrey Olumakaiye, has reflected on the plight of Leah Sharibu in Boko Haram captivity, saying she remains a grave concern for the nation.
“This is not only because of the nature of her abduction or the lengthy period since she was last seen, but for the seeming lack of sustained pressure toward her release.
“It is my view that if the entirety of the Christian community comes together, we can jointly compel Leah’s and others speed release.
“As we approach the new Year 2020, I envision an encouraging future replete with not just hope but also fulfillment and prosperity.
“Let us go into the new year with strong core values and convictions that are based upon the standards of God’s word,” he said.
Prelate Uche Chukwuemeka Kanu has showed his heart felt joy over the release of former security adviser Col. Sambo Dasuki and Sahara Reporter Omoyele Sowore describing this step as the best Christmas we have ever had in Nigeria. The release brought joy and changed the whether for the nation and brought peace as never experienced before.
While appealing to the Buhari administration to also release Leah Sharibu who has been in Boko Haram insurgence captive for long. Sharibu sin was her refusal to deny her faith to becoming a muslim and as a result releasing her as become an impossible, despite international appeal.
He made this during the Christmas Message to the nation at the Methodist Church, Trinity Tinubu, Lagos.
He also commended President Mohammdu Buhuri for making sure there was no Scarcity of fuel during this Yuletide.
While in his message, he called on Nigerians to live in Peace with one another, forbearing with one another and have the spirit of forgiveness, religious tolerance among ourselves.
for this is the only way we move forward as a nation and have a better development.
He also called on the working Senators to cut their jumbo salary, lamenting that half of their salary can pay ten persons this in a way is resource control.