- Calls for peace, tolerance
By Gabriel Dike, Lagos
The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev Alfred Adewale Martins, has strongly denounced all forms of ethnic profiling, violence, and hate speech that have occurred in some parts of Lagos State before, during, and after the recent elections.
The Archbishop warned that these actions, if not immediately addressed, could jeopardise the peaceful coexistence of residents in the state.
In a statement signed by the Director of Social Communications, Rev Fr Anthony Godonu, Archbishop Martins called on the state government to urgently intervene and restore peace in affected areas. He also urged law enforcement agencies to protect the lives and properties of all residents regardless of their tribe, religion, or ethnic group.
According to Archbishop Martins, “the ethnic and discriminatory comments making the rounds particularly on social media, are not a reflection of the true nature of Lagosians, who are known to be very peace-loving, accommodating and cosmopolitan, including by promoting inter-tribal marriages for many decades.”
He also emphasised the need for residents to remain calm and not allow themselves to be divided against their neighbors. He urged everyone to put a stop to the spread of hate speech and fake news, and to shun all forms of rancor.
“We are all Nigerians and have lived and interacted together as one people for decades in Lagos and other parts of our country,” said Archbishop Martins.
“With the elections over, we hope that all those who have been fanning the embers of ethnic division will be more circumspect and desist from further heating up the polity.”
Archbishop Martins commiserated with families that lost their loved ones and individuals whose properties were destroyed in the violence across the state and country. He called on law enforcement agencies to do the necessary where offenses have been committed, as part of efforts to facilitate a national healing process.
The Archbishop reiterated the need for everyone to embrace peace and unity, and to work towards a harmonious and prosperous Lagos.