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New year: CAN president preaches unity, togetherness

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The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Daniel Okoh has urged Nigerians to remain united to withstand trials, noting that unity produced the power to rebuild.

Okoh made the call in his New Year message on Monday, in light of attacks in communities in Plateau State, where armed bandits’ attacks resulted in the death of about 148 persons and the destruction of 221 houses.

It was reported that on Sunday, December 24, 2023, gunmen stormed Ndun, Ngyong, Murfet, Makundary, Tamiso, Chiang, Tahore, Gawarba, Dares, Meyenga, Darwat, and Butura Kampani villages in the Barkin Ladi, Mangu and Bokkos areas of the state, burning houses and shooting residents.

In his message, the CAN President described the bandits as “enemies of progress who sought to cast shadows over our joy”, adding that the attacks were a reminder of the fragility of peace and a “recurrent nightmare” that had happened far too often.

He therefore admonished Nigerians to refuse to be discouraged, while urging them to embrace diversity as the bedrock for a stronger and more harmonious nation.

The statement partly reads “As we stand at the dawn of a new year, I want to first express my deepest gratitude to Almighty God for His unfailing protection and mercies that have seen us through the year 2023. It is by His grace that we have been preserved, overcoming the trials and tribulations of the past year.

“We were shocked to find that, as the year drew to a close, the enemies of progress sought to cast a shadow over our joy with acts of extreme violence in some communities on the Plateau. In light of these distressing events, our prayers intensify for the souls we have lost and for the bereaved families.”

“In the face of these adversities, it is imperative that we, as a people, refuse to be discouraged. Instead, we must come together and remain resolute in our commitment to build a united, peaceful, and prosperous nation. It is in our togetherness that we find the strength to withstand the trials that beset us. In unity, there is hope, resilience, and the power to rebuild. Let us embrace our diversity and allow it to be the bedrock upon which we build a stronger, more harmonious nation.

He added as a united people, citizens of the country are capable of creating a Nigeria where peace, justice, and prosperity are not just ideals, but realities for all.

Okoh further admonished citizens to look to the year ahead with a renewed sense of purpose and to draw strength from faith, shared values, and a resolve to surmount obstacles confronting the country.

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