The Federal Government has declared Friday, October 1 as public holiday to mark the nation’s 61st independence.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr. Shuaib Belgore, in a statement on Wednesday quoted the minister, Rauf Aregbesola, as assuring Nigerians of the present regime’s commitment to eradicating all challenges facing the country.

He, however, disclosed that the celebration would be without its usual pomp as a result of the ravaging COVID-19.

The statement was titled, “FG declares Friday October 1 as public holiday to mark Nigeria’s 61st independence anniversary”.

It partly read, “The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, congratulates all Nigerians on this year’s celebration of the country’s 61st independence and assures all of government’s commitment to tackle and eradicate all forms of challenges –be it political, socio-economic and all diverse problems.

“Aregbesola said that our warmth, welcoming spirit and love as well as the abundant wealth inherent in our human capital and the richness of our land, makes Nigeria unarguably the leading black nation in the world and Africa’s pride and beacon of hope, if we can rally ourselves together to harness our potentials.

“A country of about 200 million and above people whose natural talent, grit and passion glitter like the precious diamond that we are. Nigerians are sparkling like diamonds in the pack, whether in academia, business, innovation, music, movie, entertainment, fashion and culture. We are indeed the leading black nation in the entire world and no doubt Africa’s pride and beacon of hope

“The minister confirmed that, celebrating Nigeria’s 61st independence anniversary is necessary, but that the safety of the citizenry is Mr. President’s huge concern, especially with COVID-19 third Delta variant still in place. Therefore, this year’s celebration is being held without the usual pomp and pageantry.

“While wishing Nigerians a fruitful independence celebration, he reminded them of the fact that our founding fathers, in spite of the differences in faith, tribe and tongue came together for Nigeria’s independence.

“He, therefore, called on all Nigerians to join hands together with the present Administration in its quest to ensure a better Nigeria for all citizens, both at home and abroad as this, he said, shall be a befitting tribute to the struggles of our heroes’ past.”

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