by Olalekan Adetayo
President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday promised Nigerians that those behind the recent Nyanya bomb blast in Abuja that left about 86 persons dead would be punished.
Jonathan made the promise in his remarks at the Fourth Presidential National Prayer Breakfast held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said his prayers were with the victims of Boko Haram, their families and loved ones. He said his government would continue to offer the assistance needed to support them.
He said, “Today, our prayers are with the victims of Boko Haram, their families and loved ones. The last tragedy of these heinous ideology occurred while we were preparing to mark the resurrection of our Lord at Easter, bringing sorrow to many families.
“The government is offering all assistance to support the affected families as the security agencies work tirelessly to unravel the scourge of this evil and to forestall further senseless desecration of our homeland.
“And of course, no matter what the government does, we cannot recover the dead but one thing we promise is that all those who took part in that act will surely pay for it.”
The President said Nigerians need to rely on God to pursue peace and overcome enemies of the nation.
While thanking Nigerians for their prayers, Jonathan said their love for the country gives him hope and encouragement to do more for the good of Nigeria.
He said with the determination and commitment of all and with God on the side of the country, the nation would overcome its challenges which he described as temporary and ephemeral.
“I urge you not to relent in your prayers and dedication because overcoming the present challenges we face may look impossible with men, but with God, all things are possible.
“This is clearly seen in the scriptures and this is my faith. This is one of the things that make me smile whenever you see me.
“Nigeria is our home and it cannot be abandoned to anyone else,” the President declared.
The President added that no criminal would be able to stop the country from reaching its destination.
The President of Benin Republic, Boni Yayi, in his goodwill message asked God to forgive those who abducted schoolgirls in a school in Chibok, Borno State, saying they did not know the implication of their actions.
Yayi said his country, West Africa and Africa would always stand by Nigeria because the country has a divine mission in the sub-region and the continent.
The President’s Chaplain, Ven. Obioma Onwuzurumba, said the event was organised to thank God for being merciful to the present administration and to ask for more grace.
Onwuzurumba said the country would not fail despite the activities of the enemies of the nation.
The Director-General of the National Institute for Transformation, Prof. Vincent Anigbogu, in his message described nation-building as the toughest job in the world.
He said, “Our response to enemies is to tell them that Nigeria must move forward. All great visions for Nigeria must move forward.
“The threat of Boko Haram shall be insignificant. If your (Jonathan’s) desire is to change this nation for better, God will honour it.
“Many great leaders like Nelson Mandela and others have faced similar challenges and overcame them. You are not alone sir, if they succeeded, you can succeed.
“During threat, we must focus on our goals. Don’t allow distractions. Nigeria must remain multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religiou country.
“No single organisation can derail this country. We must arise during this season and be extraordinarily tough. we must be entrepreneurial in our thinking and be ready to find our ways to the top.”
The Bible lesson for the service was read from Luke 13:31-33 by the President’s wife, Patience.
by Olalekan Adetayo