The ceremony, which brought together an array of Liberia government officials and a cross-section of members of the diplomatic corps, was climaxed with the donation of a huge consignment of food and other items to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Those who graced the occasion were President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Gbehzongar Findley, Senator Jewel Howard Taylor, among others.
On the diplomatic front, United States Ambassador Deborah Malac, and other members of the diplomat corps turned out en masse to celebrate with the Nigerians to the delight of Nigeria Ambassador Chigozie F. Obi-Nnadozie.
The Items which Ambassador Obi-Nnadozie presented on behalf of the Government of the Federal Republic were several bags of 25kg imported rice, tins of vegetable oil and several foam mattresses.
According to Ambassador Obi-Nnadozie, the presentation was intended to help in the ongoing fight against the Ebola virus disease (EVD), which is taking its deadly toll across the region.
The donation was part of the Federal Nigerian government’s means of identifying with Liberia at this critical time, she said adding that the gifts symbolize “the solidarity of the long standing bilateral relations between the two countries.”
An elated President Sirleaf, who received the supplies on behalf of the National Taskforce Team, expressed gratitude and requested Ambassador Obi-Nnadozie to convey her thanks and appreciation to President Goodluck Jonathan for the gesture.
Nigeria became independent on October 1, 1960 and attained republic status on October 1, 1963.
Earlier, the Embassy in Congo Town near Monrovia, deviated from the usual pageantry that characterizes Nigeria’s Independence, and turned the function into a prayer rally against Ebola.
Four renowned clerics from different religious backgrounds offered supplications for God to deliver Liberia and the entire West Africa region, including Nigeria, from the Ebola virus.
Apart from the Ebola outbreak, Nigeria has been plagued by the Islamist insurgency, Boko Haram, in the North of the country.
Prayers were also offered for God to weaken and dislodge Boko Haram in that country.
Ambassador Obi-Nnadozie said the Embassy resolved to mark the country’s 54th Independence anniversary with a prayer rally, “because a lot has being happening in the last few months on the West Coast of Africa.”
She disclosed that the Embassy decided to focus on what has been happening in Liberia, noting, “we want to honor the dead, and the living and all those who are in hospitals plagued by the deadly Ebola virus.”
She indicated that the hearts and minds of Nigerians are with Liberians who are admitted at various treatment units across the country.
She expressed regret for their suffering, adding, “We want to wish them a speedy recovery. We also want to kick Ebola out of Liberia, Nigeria and the rest of the West African countries by dedicating this year’s celebration to God.”
Quoting a Biblical verse, the Nigerian envoy invited the audience to join the Embassy staff, and the clerics to offer prayers to God so that He can heal the lands of Ebola.
“We are going to cry up to God, beg Him to heal our lands, and restore us to where we should be so that we can rejoice once again and shake hands, hug and kiss each other. Enough is enough, Father,” Ambassador Obi-Nnadozie pleaded.
Following her statement, the four religious leaders including: Pastor Audu Johnson of the Living Faith Church, Sheikh Kafumba Konneh of the National Muslim Council of Liberia, Rev. Father Raphael of the Catholic Church, and Bishop Jonathan B. B. Hart, president of the Liberia Council of Churches, offered special prayers for the two countries.