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    The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), state governors and other public office holders in their Christmas messages on Thursday expressed concern about the second wave of COVID-19 and urged Nigerians to guard against further spread of the virus.

    Buhari, in the message he personally signed, which was made available to journalists by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said there were indications that Nigeria was already experiencing the second wave of COVID-19 infection.

    He, therefore, urged Nigerians to adhere strictly to the non-pharmaceutical prevention guidelines of regular hand washing, wearing masks and social/physical distancing with a view to mitigating the spread of the devastating virus.

    The President stated, “While national and state institutions are trying their best, we must take individual responsibility and resist the strong temptation of compliance-fatigue by following the recommended protocols put in place by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and beat the ravaging pandemic.

    “I have absolute confidence in the spirit of resilience of our people to do the needful and remain vigilant even as this festive season witnesses increased travels and celebrations. Staying alive to enjoy future festivals should be the watchword.”

    Buhari also said the security challenges confronting the nation were beyond “the simplistic options being bandied around.

    He pleaded with Nigerians to give the military and other security agencies more time, cooperation and support.

    COVID-19: Buhari cancels Christmas homage

    Later on Thursday, Buhari said he would not host dignitaries to the annual Christmas homage this year.

    The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, announced this in a statement titled “President Buhari cancels Christmas homage.”

    The usual practice is that the incumbent Vice-President and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory lead dignitaries to pay homage to the President during all major Muslim and Christian festivals.

    Shehu’s statement read, “In line with the prevailing protocols put in place by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, restricting large gatherings, President Muhammadu Buhari will not be hosting the usual Christmas homage by religious and community leaders in the Federal Capital Territory.”

    Second phase deadlier, avoid crowded places, Ortom advises people

    On his part, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, advised people to avoid crowded places and observe COVID-19 preventive measures such as wearing of face masks, physical distancing, hand washing with soap and the use of sanitisers

    In a Christmas message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, Ortom said that medical experts had confirmed that the second phase of the disease was highly contagious and deadlier than the first phase and urged people to be more careful.

    President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in his message, assured Nigerians that no citizen of the country would be shortchanged in the distribution and application of the COVID-19 vaccines when they arrived in the country.

    Lawan, in a statement by his Media adviser, Ola Awoniyi, said, “The National Assembly in consultation with the relevant agencies would ensure due diligence in the procurement and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines when they become available.”

    The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, called on Christians to use the period of Christmas to pray for continuous peaceful coexistence among Nigerians.

    Gbajabiamila, in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, titled, ‘Christmas: Pray for Nigeria, imbibe teachings of Jesus Christ, Gbajabiamila tells Christians,’ said with prayers and observance of the established protocols, the country would overcome COVID-19.

    Wase, in a separate statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Umar Puma, urged all Christians to respect the restriction on congregational worship and take responsibility for their safety against the virus.

    In Taraba State, Governor Darius Ishaku, in a statement in Jalingo by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Bala Dan-Abu, called for observance of COVID-19 protocols.

    His Gombe State counterpart, Inuwa Yahaya, in his Christmas message, advised residents of the state to continue to keep safe and adhere strictly to COVID-19 protocols and guidelines.

    Mind COVID-19 during celebrations – Akeredolu

    The Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, urged the people of the state to celebrate Christmas and the New Year safely and responsibly in order not to further increase the spread of the COVID-19 in the state.

    In his address to the people of the state in Akure, Akeredolu enjoined the people to “as a matter of utmost priority, correctly and consistently wear face masks, while in the public space, wash hands with water and soap or use hand sanitisers constantly, avoid crowds and maintain physical distancing.”

    The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, urged people of the state to accommodate one another and take personal responsibility of protecting themselves and others against the second wave of coronavirus.

    The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, in his message, stated, “The festive aspects of our celebration of Christmas may be limited by the reality of a second wave of life-threatening COVID-19 infections.”

    He also stated, “We can all, as Christians as well as Muslims, to emulate the example of Jesus Christ. We can strive to be better than we are today, combining our faith with exemplary conduct.”

    In Plateau State, Governor Simon Lalong appealed to the people of the state to be careful and observe all COVID-19 protocols to curtail the impact of the pandemic.

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