Lagos Archbishop condemns ethnic profiling, calls for peace, tolerance

The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, has condemned all forms of ethnic profiling, utterances, and violence witnessed in some parts of Lagos State, before, during and after the recent elections.

In a statement signed on Wednesday by the Director of Social Communications, Rev. Fr. Anthony Godonu, the prelate urged the state government as a matter of urgency to call all parties to order and to put in place a machinery for the quick restoration of peace and normalcy.

Martins said that if the trend was not urgently checkmated, it could truncate the peaceful co-existence of residents of the state.

He described as unfortunate and unacceptable, the tension, hate speech and violence, especially before, during and after the recent Governorship and House of Assembly elections in some parts of the state.

He implored the law enforcement agencies to safeguard the lives and property of all residents irrespective of tribe, religion, or ethnic groups.

The clergy 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 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,” he said.

Martins advised the people of Lagos State not to allow the political class to whip up such divisive sentiments to disrupt their lives and livelihood.

He said that we are equal before God and the only man-made distinction among people was between the poor and the rich, the privileged and the underprivileged.

“We are all equal before God, we are 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 said.

Martins commiserated with the families of those who lost their loved ones and whose property were destroyed in the violence in the state and across the country.

He 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.

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