…lauds Buhari on pardon for Professor Alli, Enahoro

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has urged Christian faithful to show good neighbourliness to one another, tasking them to mark the Easter festivities at home.

In an Easter address, the governor said this year’s celebration would be marked in ‘unusual circumstances,’ as Christians would celebrate one of the most important events in the Christian calendar, at home, because of the restrictions, which have been imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

According to him, “My dear good people of Edo State, I bring you warm greetings on this occasion of Easter, when we as Christians celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Easter signifies the essence of our Christian faith because our Lord Jesus Christ made the supreme sacrifice for us and hence gave us hope for eternal life.”

The governor expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari on the posthumous state pardon granted Professor Ambrose Alli and Chief Anthony Enahoro.

“On a note of gratitude, I wish to use this opportunity to express the gratitude of the Edo people to Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari, for granting posthumous state pardon to two of our eminent political fathers, Chief Anthony Enahoro and Prof. Ambrose Alli, who dedicated their lives to the service of our people. We are thankful to Mr. President, because with this pardon, the labours of our heroes past have indeed not been in vain,” he added.

The governor noted that just as Christ sacrificed for the world, Christians should reflect on the lessons of Easter and make sacrifices to “preserve our communities and save the lives of our fellow citizens.”

He assured that government has put measures in place and continues to review those measures daily to ensure that it curtails the spread of the virus, adding, “Health workers who are leading the fight against COVID-19 have been trained, and they will man the first set of 50 screening centres, starting in the local government areas where we have experienced outbreak of coronavirus.

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“We want to screen up to 500,000 citizens in Edo over the next few weeks, and I am pleased to inform you that we now have 2 additional testing facilities in Benin City, where we plan to test up to 5,000 citizens. We will review our current policies when we obtain sufficient data and evidence from the screening and testing.”

He said coronavirus poses the greatest challenge to the economy of individuals, the State and Nigeria, adding, “As a government, we feel the pain of our people, and so we are commencing the distribution of relief materials to the most vulnerable persons, who are resident in the State, including widows, the elderly, the physically challenged, and the homeless, among others.

“The items are being distributed across the State in collaboration with traditional rulers, religious leaders and community partners, in such a manner that the packages would get to those they are intended for.

“Easter also offers us another opportunity to demonstrate that core Christian values of good neighbourliness, particularly in this time of severe economic difficulties occasioned by the lockdown and restricted movement.”

Appealing to all citizens of the state to join government to look out for, and take care of the most vulnerable and weakest persons in our communities, he said, “Things are tough and difficult for all of us, however, there are those among us who are still better off. Please let us look for those people we know need help, and give them from the little we have.

“I also appeal to landlords to be compassionate to tenants owing rent, and to BEDC to provide sustained power supply for our people who are staying at home. Petroleum products must sell only at the approved pump price, traders must not hoard goods or hike prices, and transporters should not increase fares arbitrarily, as they have been granted tax relief in addition to the reduced fuel pump price.

“I encourage employers not to lay off staff this period, but to explore human faced measures to support employees during this crisis. This, my people, is a time to show love and a sense of community, so we can win this war as one united people driven by our common zeal to survive and thrive.

“Ideally, the Easter season is marked by congregational worship and visits to loved ones, but I appeal to you to restrain from sustaining this practice this period. The social distancing and stay at home orders still subsist, so I enjoin you to maintain contact with your relatives and loved ones through digital media channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Zoom, so that we can all be safe and protected. If you must go out, do so wearing facemasks.”