The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins has admonished Nigerians to disregard the temptation of going into the new year with fear.
He said no one should allow fear to rob them of the joy that comes with the New Year 2021.
In his New Year message signed by the Archdiocesan Director of Social Communications, Rev. Fr. Anthony Godonu, Martins also challenged all those in government at the Federal and State levels, to be proactive in addressing the fears being expressed by people.
“This they can do by quickly putting in place appropriate measures and policies that would mitigate against the projected renewed economic challenges that may come with the New Year,” he said.
He equally tasked them to be more pragmatic in tackling the health challenges occasioned by the new strain of the COVID-19 in order to guide against another round of total economic lockdown in view of the colossal losses it would cost the entire nation.
“We thank the good Lord for making it possible for us to see the beginning of the New Year 2021. We pray that the souls of our brothers and sisters who died in the year 2020 may rest in peace.
“In this New Year, my admonition to Nigerians is not to allow fear to rob them of the joy of seeing a New Year. I understand so many predictions have been going around in the social media that the year 2021 will be a tough year. But I urge you not to be afraid.
“Rather than succumb to fear and its corresponding apprehension, people should be optimistic and place their hope and trust in the Almighty God who is able to turn around all things for good. Yes, there are ominous situations that indicate that the year would be tough but faith and trust in God should make us optimistic and encourage us to go into the new year with courage.
“Let us start each day with a prayerful optimism and go about our responsibilities with utmost caution and in strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocols. However, as we pray with hope for divine intervention, we must also be prepared to work hard and be more productive in order to make the New Year a good and fruitful one.
“Each of us is required to make necessary sacrifices and meaningful contributions towards the growth of our nation. Certainly, government has a crucial role to play by diligently attending to its constitutional responsibilities without playing unnecessary politics with issues that affect the day to day lives of the masses. For instance, so many challenges came up in 2020 in the various areas of peoples’ lives: particularly in the economy, health, security, and education sectors.
“Government must make objective appraisals of the situation and take necessary steps to reassure the people that they have a government that cares. The onus is now on the Federal and states governments to listen to the people and save them from the agonies they have to face daily,” he said.
Martins, while calling on government at all levels to be more humane in their approach to issues of governance in the New Year 2021, frowned at the renewed spate of insecurity across the country.
He referred particularly to the recent abduction of Bishop Moses Chikwe, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri as an act of sacrilege.
He says: “The issue of insecurity in the land is a burning one and we hope that the government of President Buhari would change its approach to the issue in 2021. Many people have consistently cried out on the need for a fresh approach to solving the situation of insecurity in the country while the President has always declared that he is doing his best.
“Perhaps replacing the heads of the Security Agencies in the nation would help to convince people that he is truly trying his best. We believe that fresh hands along with the provision of an enabling situation for the agencies to work would show that the best is actually being done.”