The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins has condemned in very strong terms all forms of ethnic profiling, utterances, and violence witnessed in some parts of Lagos state, before, during, and after the recent elections, warning that the trend if not urgently check-mated, could truncate the peaceful co-existence of residents of the state.
The Archbishop described as unfortunate and unacceptable, the tension, hate speech, and violence, especially before, during, and after the recent Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections in some parts of the state.
In a statement by the Director of Social Communications, Rev. Fr. Anthony Godonu, and made available to the National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP), the prelate urged the state government as a matter of urgency to call all parties to order and to put in place machinery for the quick restoration of peace and normalcy.
He equally implored law enforcement agencies to safeguard the lives and properties of all residents irrespective of tribe, religion, or ethnic group.
Archbishop Martins also urged the residents of Lagos to remain calm and not allow themselves to be divided against their neighbours.
According to him, “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 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 rancour. The divisive comments and behaviours, particularly along the 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”.
While commiserating with families that lost their loved ones and persons whose properties were destroyed in the violence in the state and across the country, Archbishop Martins also called on law enforcement agencies to do the needful where offences have been committed, as part of efforts to facilitate a national healing process.