President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said it is in the midst of hardship that the true test of a nation will emerge.
Buhari, in his Christmas message to the nation, said he rejoiced with Christians in Nigeria as they joined fellow believers all over the world to celebrate this season.
“It is a special period that brings peoples of the world together with one purpose; to celebrate togetherness, joy, peace, and above all, to share love with one another through exchange of goodwill and gifts.
“For the second Christmas running, the world will not be able to celebrate as we used to in years past. The COVID-19 pandemic, with its attendant debilitating impact, has remained with mankind, mutating and leaving in its wake devastating consequences on the economy, social interaction, and curtailing certain freedoms.
“The silver lining, however, is that humanity has been able to rise up with one voice and purpose, to confront the foisted conditions,” he said.
Buhari appealed to Christians and others to embrace vaccination, which is the best scientifically known bulwark against the pandemic.
He said recent events had shown that vaccination greatly reduced the effects of the virus on the human body.
“I will also urge those that have taken the two doses to go ahead and take the booster as advised by the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC).
“I commend the efforts of members of the PSC under the headship of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation as they continue to chart a roadmap out of the pandemic and associated issues,” he said.
On security, Buhari said despite the remarkable successes generally recorded, the nation still has some challenges.
“Our courageous security forces, bolstered by the necessary support from this administration, daily confront the wicked ones amongst us, who continue to threaten the peace of the land.
“Recently, during the meeting with fellow Heads of State of the ECOWAS, I discussed the need to intensify efforts to jointly confront this menace causing instability in our sub-region.
“I am confident that with the renewed commitment and empowerment of our committed security personnel, all these issues which inflict pain and trauma on us will soon be history.
“Let us utilize the opportunity that this festive period brings to encourage ourselves so that the machinations of the wicked ones in our midst will find no place to thrive,” he added.
Buhari said Christmas is a season when hope is rekindled, stressing that hope, peace, joy and love are the recurring themes of this time.
“It is in the midst of hardship that the true test of a nation emerges. I urge Nigerians to invoke the indomitable spirit in us and see the present order of things as a phase that will also pass, just like other unsavory situations in the nation’s history.
“This government will not abandon the promises made to Nigerians for a better lease of life. The diversification of the economy embarked upon is yielding fruits. We shall continue to create opportunities for our teeming youths to ventilate their tremendous energy.
“As we felicitate with family, friends, colleagues, associates, let us spare moments to reach out to the less privileged. Let us also pray and give words of encouragement to our gallant security personnel fulfilling their oaths to keep us safe.
“I assure my compatriots that this administration remains resolute at ensuring that the standard of living of the average Nigerian is elevated. On this note, I wish Nigerians Merry Christmas,” he stated.