By Henry Oladele
Lagos – The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas, in Lagos on Saturday called on Nigerians to pray for an end to the country’s current security challenges.
Ibas made the call in his remarks at the Nigerian Navy Officers’ Wives Association (NOWA) Christmas Carol held at the Naval Dockyard Limited, Victoria Island, Lagos.
“I am obliged to urge you to please find a way to create a moment for sober reflection and offer prayers for the healing of our land.
“In the last few years, our country has had the misfortune to undergo significant security challenges.
“As military families, you are at the forefront of those bearing the painful brunt, which at times includes enduring the experience of the breadwinner paying the supreme price.
“Several of our brothers and sisters have been cut down or rendered homeless, pursued into a sub human living by the evil insurgent efforts,’’ he said.
He said there would be little sense of Christmas for these victims, urging everyone to remember them and their conditions, to ask for the enthronement of the almighty God among His people.
“Our assembling here today is no coincidence; we have always been yielding to the pull of NOWA powered by its exceptionally devotional disposition.
“As you would already have known, NOWA welfare activities have been a relief in diverse areas for a wide range of beneficiaries, many of which were not even contemplated among the catchment group.
“These activities include the provision of crèches in naval barracks and bases; establishment of schools and skills acquisition centres, provision of market stalls as well as providing general welfare support to officers’ and ratings’ families,’’ he said.
In her remarks, National President of NOWA and wife of the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Mrs Theresa Ibas, said carol service was one of the most potent images of Christmas.
“The season of Christmas and carol is a unique and colourful period where we assemble to render songs in praises to God Almighty, for his great gift to the world.
“He restored love and peace in our lives in the person of Jesus Christ. The essence of this carol service, therefore, is to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
“This year’s theme “Peace On Earth” was carefully selected to remind us that in spite of all we have been through as individuals and as a nation, God Almighty is the ultimate source of peace on earth.
“I enjoin everyone therefore, to spread love and be in peace with one another. Let us be our brother’s keepers by reaching out to those who struggle to provide for their families,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme was well attended by senior officers, both serving and retired.
Among those present were naval officers, their family members and friends, including the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command, Rear Adm. Obed Ngalabak.
Others were students of NOWA nursery, primary and secondary schools.
There were carol renditions by the NOWA schools, NOWA, NARAWA choir and Navy Steel Band.
A candle-light procession and the cutting of a cake were part of activities at the carol night.