BY BRIGHT JACOB
The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Alfred Adewale Martins, has waded in and condemned in very strong terms the ethnic profiling, utterances and violence witnessed in some parts of Lagos State, before, during and after the recent general elections, cautioning that the ethnic and discriminatory comments making the rounds are not a reflection of the true nature of Lagos.
In a statement signed on Wednesday by the Director of Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Anthony Godonu, and obtained by The Point, Martins called on all and sundry to put a stop to the spread of hate speeches, fake news, and shun all forms of rancour.
The revered prelate also enjoined the people of Lagos not to allow the political class to “whip up divisive sentiments” to disrupt their lives and livelihood, as, according to him, all men are equal before God, with the distinction between them being “man-made” .
Martins reminded Lagosians that they were all Nigerians who “have lived and interacted together as one people for decades in Lagos and other parts of our country”.
He also tackled those he accused of “fanning the embers of ethnic division”, who he said should be “more circumspect and desist from further heating up the polity.”
Part of the statement said, “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.
“I call on everyone to put a stop to the spread of hate speech and fake news and to shun all forms of rancor. The divisive comments and behaviours, particularly along ethnic or tribal line is not conducive to good neigbourliness and peaceful coexistence.
“The people of Lagos must not allow the political class to whip up such divisive sentiments to disrupt their lives and livelihood. We are all equal before God and the only man-made distinction among people is between the poor and the rich, the privileged and the underprivileged.
“We are all Nigerians and have lived and interacted together as one people for decades in Lagos and other parts of our country.
“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. We must be law-abiding citizens and not take the law into our hands in any guise.”
Martins warned that the trend of ethnic profiling, if not urgently check-mated could truncate the peaceful co-existence of residents of the state, and urged the Lagos State government, as a matter of urgency, to call all parties to order and to put in place a machinery for quick restoration of peace and normalcy.
The Archbishop also compelled the residents of Lagos to remain calm and not allow themselves to be divided against their neighbours.
He commiserated with families that lost their loved ones, and persons whose properties were destroyed in the violence in the state and across the country.
The Archbishop also prevailed upon the law enforcement agencies to safeguard the lives and properties of all residents irrespective of tribe, religion or ethnic group, and to “do the needful” where offences had been committed, as part of efforts to facilitate a national healing process.