Chuks Okocha in Abuja
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has assured Nigerians that no citizen of the country would be shortchanged in the distribution and application of the COVID-19 vaccines when they arrive in the country.
The executive arm of the government has already presented a N400bn proposal before the National Assembly for the purpose of purchasing the vaccines to be administered free on Nigerians.
Lawan, in his Christmas message on Thursday, said “the National Assembly in consultation with the relevant agencies will ensure due diligence in the procurement and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine when they become available.”
He said, “This would ensure that all Nigerians have equitable access to inoculation against the stubborn virus.”
Lawan, and his colleagues in the upper chamber, in their separate statements, also urged Nigerians, especially Christians to observe the COVID-19 safety protocols as they celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
The senators in their various messages, however, urged Nigerians to endure the situation as the pandemic would soon be a thing of the past.
Lawan, in a statement by his Media adviser, Ola Awoniyi, noted that this year’s celebration comes at a time when the world was combatting the resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said the pandemic had forced many countries to ramp up health safety protocols at a time when people traditionally gather to share love in celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Lawan, however, expressed confidence that the resilience and positive attitudes of Nigerians would not only help the country to prevail against the challenges.
He said adherence to the non-pharmaceutical protocols would ensure that their strains do not stop a merry and responsible celebration of Christmas in the country.
He said, “I celebrate with the Christian faithful and enjoin all of us to remember the essence of the august occasion.
“Given the fact of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, we should keep our guard up and comply fully with the non-pharmaceutical guidelines that have been put in place by the authorities.”
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Solomon Adeola, called on all Christians in particular and Nigerians in general to use the occasion of Christmas to renew their faith in Jesus Christ and abide by all precautionary measures against the rampaging COVID-19 global pandemic.
The senator called for caution in such display of positive emotion in view of the prescribed precautionary measures to prevent and combat the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.
He announced the cancellation of his annual end of year/yuletide party which usually attracts many constituents and well-wishers for this year.
The Senator representing Ogun West Senatorial District, Tolu Odebiyi, according to a statement by his media office,
has reached out to the leaders and coordinators across all political wards in Ogun West with the provision of cash gifts.
The statement explained that the gift was “a morale booster to cushion the enormous effect of the economic downturn during this festive period.”
A former Governor of Enugu State and Senator representing Enugu East Senatorial District, Dr Chimaroke Nnamani, urged Nigerians to use this period of yuletide to pray for unity, peace and security of Nigeria.
Nnamani noted that the unabating security situation; killings, kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery and other violent crimes now becoming the norm rather than the exception should give every right-thinking Nigerian a cause to worry.
Nnamani acknowledged the efforts of security operatives towards curbing the menace but expressed concern that the efforts have not yielded the desired results
He said, “There must be new approaches to the security challenge including but not limited to inter agencies collaboration and cooperation as well as the deployment of appropriate modern technology.”
Also, a former President of the Senate, David Mark, reminded Nigerians of the sanctity of being their brothers’ keeper in spite of the socio-economic and security challenges.
To this end, he canvassed for religious tolerance between and amongst faithful in a manner that gives every adherent freedom and liberty to worship.
He also advised religious leaders across board to preach the message of peace, unity and good neighbourliness in order to make our country, Nigeria a safe haven.
On the security challenges, he urged citizens especially the clergy and the traditional rulers to collaborate with security agencies in order to stamp out the menace.
Mark’s former deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, called on Nigerians to imbibe the attitude of love, which he described as the core essence and message of Christmas.
Ekweremadu, according to a statement by his media office, had also presented gifts and support to 300 widows drawn from his senatorial district, as part of the activities the celebrate to occasion.
He said, “On the occasion of Christmas, we must not lose sight of the crux of the season, which is God’s love for mankind in sending his only begotten son for our salvation.
“No nation makes progress in the midst of divisiveness, injustice, and recriminations. We must recommit to loving one another even as Christ loved us and was born as man.
“I have, therefore, decided to continuously stick by these widows through this annual event, ensuring that they celebrate like others at Christmas”.