President Goodluck Jonathan has again justified the emergency rule and ongoing military onslaught against insurgents in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
He said that the Federal Government could no longer watch innocent Nigerians being attacked by members of the Boko Haram sect, adding that the decision was spurred by the desire to restore peace to the affected areas.
Mr. Jonathan said this in Abuja on Sunday at a church service organised as part of the activities lined up to mark the 2013 Democracy Day.
The President, who was represented by the Senate President, David Mark, said that the Federal Government would do more to ensure total peace, not just in the North, but in the entire country.
In the speech read by Mr. Mark, the president reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to protecting the lives and property of all Nigerians wherever they lived.
“Our country is going through trying times, especially in parts of the North, where insurgents have made life unbearable for innocent citizens.
“No responsible government will fold its arms and watch criminals destroy what some people have spent their entire lives to build.
“I want to assure all Nigerians that this administration will live up to its responsibility; we will restore sanity to the streets of Borno and other parts of the North-East,” he said.
Mr. Jonathan, however, urged Nigerians not to relent in the fight against criminals in the country, stressing that criminals must not be allowed to succeed in their activities. He also pledged that his administration would not relent in its fight against corruption and other vices in the society.
The president assured the citizens that his administration would champion the rebirth of Nigeria as the giant of Africa, noting that the government was already making progress in some sectors of the economy.
Earlier, in his sermon, the pastor, Gabriel Olutola, who spoke on the theme “Righteousness exalts a nation”, underscored the need for Nigerians, especially those in leadership positions, to uphold the virtue of righteousness.
He said that the fortunes of Nigeria would be better if the citizens followed the ways of God, as enunciated in the holy book. He stressed that the country’s leaders must eschew corruption and greed, while the followers should support them with prayers.
The cleric said that most of the challenges confronting the nation could be tackled if the country’s leaders and their followers learned to trust one another.
The First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, read the first bible lesson while the senate president took the second reading.
Special prayers for Nigeria were offered by clerics from different denominations.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim, Chief of Staff to the President, Mike Oghiadome, service chiefs, ministers and other top government functionaries attended the service.