Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan Saturday urged citizens to have faith in their ability to surmount challenges in a country battling an increasingly deadly Islamist insurgency in the north.
In his Easter message to Africa's most populous country, Jonathan said: "My message to the nation ... is that we should continue to have faith in our collective ability to overcome all present challenges."
"As people of faith, we must never succumb to hopelessness and despair. We must rekindle and retain deep faith in our shared vision of greatness, and continuously renew our determination to achieve our immense potentials," he said.
Jonathan, who is Christian, said that the resurrection of Jesus Christ celebrated at Easter "signifies the triumph of light over darkness. Nigeria will overcome its developmental challenges in the shortest possible time."
The Islamist Boko Haram sect's insurgency in Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north is showing little sign of abating despite last month's bid to broker indirect talks with the government.
The talks mediator pulled out over leaks to the media while a purported Boko Haram spokesman said they could not trust the government.
Scores of gun and bomb attacks have taken place with more than 1,000 people killed since mid-2009.
The insurgency has raised deep concerns in Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south.
Nigeria has stepped up security across the country to forestall any attacks by Boko Haram during the Easter festivities.
Besides the insurgency, Nigeria faces the challenges of general insecurity, poor power and water supplies, as well as poor infrastructure and health.