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Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau has assured youths of participation in his administration in order to address their problems and enhance development in the state.
Lalong gave the assurance on Sunday at the 2020 Harvest and Thanksgiving mass of St. Monica’s Catholic Church, Rantya, Jos.
While stating that his administration would embark on constructive engagements with the youth, he urged them to be law-abiding and separate criminality from genuine agitations to enhance a secure future.
“This is because, during the #EndSARS protests, some youths looted and destroyed items at organisations which should have served as employment centres for them,” he said.
Lalong explained that the positive engagements would facilitate opportunities for youths through skill acquisition, in addition to employment opportunities.
He said that despite the economic challenges of COVID-19, his administration was able to implement a new minimum wage for civil servants and pay their salaries as at when due.
“We have many things to thank God for. We felt the health, economic, and social challenges that COVID-19 came with, as our state was at a point an epicentre of the virus.
“Today, however, the prevalence rate has dropped and we have been able to sustain payment of salaries. We have also implemented a new minimum wage. So, I am grateful to God,” he said.
In his homily, the Parish Priest of the church, Rev. Fr. Anthony Okparaji, who celebrated the mass, thanked God for protecting Nigeria from recording severe casualties during the COVID-19 pandemic, as was the case in some countries.
He urged Christians to be grateful to God, even in challenging situations, saying that a courageous Christian would have the capacity to win in whatever situation, while fear destroyed one’s spiritual immune system.
“Year 2020 is a challenging year. What has befallen us whether coronavirus or calamities, is beyond our expectations. Our plans were dashed because of the situations in which we found ourselves, but we must be thankful to God.
“Many thought Africa would have completely been wiped out because of COVID-19, but God has proven that He is greater than everybody and everything. We are alive today and God has done it for us”, he said.
He urged Christians not to allow the fear of the unknown to affect their faith in God, stressing that faith was critical in any believer’s life.
The cleric called for love for one another, stressing “people should treat one another with dignity”.
According to him, the challenges currently facing the country are man-made, whereas in other climes, people face other forms of calamities.
“Other nations face other calamities but in Nigeria, we face calamities most of which were caused by us. We see people’s inhumanity to one another and this is not right”, he said.