David Arin – The Federal Government has declared Monday, October 3, as a public holiday, to mark the nation’s 62nd Independence anniversary.
Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, made the announcement in a statement issued on Wednesday, in Abuja, by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Shuaib Belgore.
The minister congratulated Nigerians on the celebration and assured of the government’s commitment to tackling the challenges facing the nation and bringing smiles to the faces of Nigerians.
“The world is going through dire economic and security challenges which have also affected our nation.
“However, I am assuring us all that the government will not abandon the people, but will continue to confront all these challenges with all the might at its disposal until respite comes our way”, he said.
Aregbesola reiterated the eminent position of Nigeria in the comity of nations and the greatness ahead of the country “if we work hard as a people.
“Our warmth, welcoming spirit and love, as well as our unbounded human capital and the richness of our land, make Nigeria unarguably the leading black nation in the world and Africa’s pride and beacon of hope.
“If we can rally ourselves together to harness our potential, we shall be the greatest nation on earth.
“A country of over 200 million people whose natural talents, grit and passion glitter like the precious diamond that we are.
“Nigerians are sparkling like diamonds in the pack, whether in academia, science and technology, business, innovation, music, entertainment, fashion or culture”, the Minister said.
He admonished Nigerians to use the occasion to reflect on the challenges facing the nation and the role they can play in addressing them.
Aregbesola urged Nigerians to work hard and shun any attraction to get rich through criminal and other immoral means.
While wishing Nigerians a memorable independence celebration, he reminded them of the fact that Nigeria’s founding fathers, in spite of the differences in faith, tribe and tongue, worked together for the country’s independence.
“Though our nation is going through challenges especially, on security, these challenges are temporary and do not define us.
“We are defined by the greatness of the Nigerian people in our diversity, strength, ingenuity and resilience.
“We shall overcome all the challenges. A time is coming when we shall look at this period in retrospect and give thanks to the Highest for the stormy waters we have waded through.
“As well as the triumphs we have recorded over the challenges that look so huge and gargantuan today”, he assured.
The Minister, however, called on Nigerians to join hands with the President Muhammadu Buhari administration in its quest to ensure a better Nigeria for all citizens, both at home and abroad.
This, he said, shall be a befitting tribute to our heroes’ past.
He also urged Nigerians to shun violence, be security conscious and report any suspicious persons or activities to the nearest security agency through the N-Alert application on Android and IOS.
“When you see something, do N-Alert for prompt response from security agents”, he added.