Abuja , Dec. 25, 2012 (NAN) President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday called on the church to support the Federal Government's transformation agenda by helping to reform the attitudes of the citizenry.
The president made the call during a Christmas service at the Cathedral of Advent (Anglican Communion), Life Camp, Abuja.
He said that the agenda of government could be made possible if the church, through its programmes and activities, reformed the lives of its members.
"The church has a great role to play if the transformation must be achieved because there can be no transformation without reformation.
"I want to call on the church to come up with programmes that will reform the lives of the people because what we see and hear about some Nigerians require genuine reformation of the people since reformation is critical to transformation," he said.
The president advised religious leaders in the country to enlighten their faithful on efforts made by government to reform the society.
Jonathan urged Nigerians to support government's programmes at all levels, noting that the continuous sabotage of its efforts would not lead the nation to greatness.
Jonathan congratulated Nigerians on the Christmas celebrations and assured them of government’s commitment to making life better for them.
He said that the much-desired changes would be made in the different sectors of the economy but sued for patience.
He said that the current administration was doing its best to effect changes in critical areas of the nation’s economy.
The president identified power, agriculture, road transport and aviation as some of the key areas that would witness remarkable change in the coming months.
He dismissed insinuations by his critics that his administration was overtly slow and incapable of effecting positive change in the economy.
"What I want to promise Nigerians is that any step we take in this administration, any giant step we take, we will never go back to it again.
"Government must plan in everything it intends to do well and this is our focus," he said.
The Primate of the communion, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, assured the president of the church’s support for government's programmes.
He said that the church would continue to encourage its faithful to key in to government’s programmes at all levels.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the president attended the service with the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, his mother and other members of the family.
Special prayers were also offered for the president, his family and members of his cabinet.
In Kaduna, a catholic priest, Rev. Fr. James Tella, also tasked Christians to show love by constantly assisting the needy and the poor.
Tella gave the advice in his homily to mark the Christmas celebration.
He urged Christians to emulate the virtues of Jesus Christ as specified in the holy Bible.
The priest also stressed the need for the people to assist the poor and less privileged in the society all the times not necessarily during festivities.
Tella advised Christians to adhere strictly to the teaching of the holy Bible, by maintaining good relationships with God and people always.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that attendance was high in Churches amidst tight security as worshippers were vigorously screened.
Cars were also screened before gaining entrance into and around Church premises.
Mr. Joel Danjuma, a worshipper, said in spite of rumours of attacks in some states, it would not deter him from performing his religious obligation.
Danjuma said the directive by the Inspector General of Police that was telecast about the need to tighten security, allayed his fears.
Mrs Murna Sunday said the security check was necessary as it had given parents the confidence to bring their children to Church, without fear of the "unknown".
She urged the people, irrespective of their religion or place of domicile, to pray for peace and assist the government to address the insecurity in the northern part of Nigeria.
The Christmas celebrations were marked peacefully in Gombe State under tight security measures provided by the police, State Security Service and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in all churches.
One of the clerics in Gombe, Rev. Fr. Sunday Waraka, an Assistant Parish Priest of St. James Catholic Church, Gombe, enjoined Christians to celebrate the occasion according to Christ's injunction.
Waraka urged them to share whatever they had with the needy, poor and avoid committing atrocities in the name of celebration.
"If you celebrate the Christmas committing atrocities, remember, Jesus will say to you 'I came but you did not receive me or know me'," he said.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Gombe State Command, DSP Fwaje Atajiri, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the celebrations were peaceful.
He said the command had deployed its officers and men to all the churches and taken other measures to ensure hitch-free celebrations.
Atajiri assured the people of the state of the command’s determination to protect lives and property. (NAN)
In Dutse, Mr Yakubu Musa, Pastor of Assembly of God’s Church, commended the Jigawa Government for the maintenance of peace in the state.
Musa told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) after the Christmas church service that worshippers came out en mass to pray without any fear of attack.
He urged the government to maintain the safety of all citizens in the state.
Musa urged Christians to emulate the teachings and practice of Jesus Christ and be kind to people, irrespective of their religious leanings.
NAN reports that the celebration was peaceful as security was beefed up around all the churches in Dutse.