As the Christmas and New Year festivities approach, Nigerians must be reminded of the need to be their brother’s keeper, keep public peace as well as protect of lives and property.
Given that the Christmas is associated with the birth of Jesus Christ – the bedrock of the Christian faith, whose life and teachings while He lived here on earth symbolized peace, righteousness and salvation for human kind, the celebration should be carried out with these critical ingredients in mind.
Indeed, the period of the Christmas celebration must not be seen as an opportunity by any class of people – whether public or private sector of the economy to have advantage over others or cheat their fellow citizens through the services they render to them.
We say so, conscious of the fact that this period has a way of pushing up the prices of goods and services – even when such increases are unwarranted, and in fact, in some instances, an outright extortion on the part of vendors or such service providers.
For instance, there is no justifiable reason why public transportation should be unduly raised by transporters especially as there has been relative stability in the supply of fuel products this period.
We, therefore challenge the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, the Nigerian police and the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, and other service agencies in the country to be on top of their assignments and responsibilities to ensure that Nigerians do not experience any hardship, pain or loss due to their dereliction of duty.
The police in particular must go a step further than the criminals by ensuring that all the nooks and crannies of the country especially the hinterlands – where the populace would empty into – are effectively policed to checkmate the nefarious activities of miscreants, armed robbers and violent people.
The FRSC should equally detail its personnel to keep vigil on all Highways to ensure that motorists and other road users keep to the rules, driving safely to reach their destinations. The point also must be stressed that vehicle owners should put their vehicles in order before hitting the road. Come to think of it, this period of the year didn’t arrive by emergency – hence the need to have fixed such vehicles before travelling with them. Safety must be the watchword for both the motorist and the other road user. We insist that nothing should be done by anybody to derail the peace and joy that hallmark the celebrations.
Thankfully, the Oil Marketers Group which threatened to disrupt smooth supply of petroleum products on account of N800 Billion government debt to its members, has agreed to withdraw the threat and to negotiate with the government for settlement. It’s hoped that there will be no reason for the group to cause hitches in the supply of fuels this season. Government must ensure that issues of this nature are nipped in the bud so that ordinary citizens are not thrown into unnecessary difficulties in times like this.
It is also commendable that the Federal Ministry of power, works and housing has commenced the routine maintenance of some Federal highways across the country. It is important to urge the ministry to raise the bar in the prosecution of these maintenance road projects, especially now that the rains have stopped.
Indeed, every effort must be deployed to speeding up these maintenance projects because 2019 is around the corner with its attendant political campaigns and the rainy season.
While ensuring the release of the necessary budgetary allocation to the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, FERMA, the Federal Government must go further by enhancing the financing of existing road contracts in parts of the country or that even after the Christmas and New Year festivities, these contractors would remain on site.
Meanwhile, States and Local Governments should equally engage themselves in the maintenance of roads infrastructure in their domains. It is not too much a demand on these two layers of government to fix their own roads, given that most of the celebrations would be carried out in their domains.
These layers of government should work hard, double their efforts to cooperate and support the Nigeria Police to ensure that criminals do not use their domains as safe haven during this period. They must collaborate with the Police through information sharing and strategy to smoke out criminals in their hideouts. This way, everybody will celebrate with happiness and also be alive to celebrate another year.
The Christmas and New Year celebrations are usually marked with love, sharing of gifts, visits to loved ones, launching or inauguration of community development projects, spiritual crusades and other church programmes including carols. These activities are the essentials and have over the years become core values of the Yuletide and the New Year. We, therefore urge all Nigerians, families, churches and communities to pursue these noble programmes and projects, despite the economic downturn because they make the period unique. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.