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2023 Elections: Archbishop Martins condemns ethnic profiling, calls for peace, tolerance

Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, Archbishop of Lagos

*Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, Archbishop of Lagos, Nigeria, urges the people of the state to not allow the political class to whip up divisive sentiments to disrupt their lives and livelihood over the ethnic profiling, provocative utterances, and incidence of violence witnessed in some parts of Lagos during recent elections

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

The Catholic Church, in Nigeria, has warned that the ethnic profiling and violence that marred the just-concluded elections in Lagos State could truncate the peaceful co-existence of residents, if not promptly checked.

Rev. Fr. Anthony Godonu, Director of Social Communications, in a statement issued in Lagos noted Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, Archbishop of Lagos, condemned in very strong terms all forms of ethnic profiling, provocative utterances, and incidence of violence witnessed in some parts of Lagos State, before, during and after the recent elections in the state.

The Archbishop also described as unfortunate and unacceptable, the tension, hate speech and attendant violence, especially before and after the Saturday, March 18, 2023 Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections in some parts of the cosmopolitan state in the country.

The Prelate urged the Lagos State Government to, as a matter of urgency, call all parties to order and initiate a machinery for quick restoration of peace and normalcy among the residents.

Most Rev. Martins as well implored the law enforcement agencies to safeguard the lives and property of all residents irrespective of tribe, religion, or ethnic group.

He also urged Lagos residents to remain calm,  and not allow themselves to be divided against their neighbours in this regard.

“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 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 rancour,” stated Archbishop Martins.

The Prelate said: “The divisive comments and behaviours, particularly along ethnic or tribal line, are not conducive to good neighbourliness 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.”

Most Rev. Martins further noted: “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.”

He as well commiserated with families that lost their loved ones and persons whose property were destroyed in the violence in the state and across the entire West African country.

Archbishop Martins urged law enforcement agencies to do the needful where offences have been committed, as part of efforts at facilitating a national healing process.

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