Martins warns against ethnic discord, calls for peace in Lagos
The Metropolitan Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins has urged Lagosians, especially the ethnic groups in Lagos State to continue to live in peace and harmony.
Reacting to reported skirmishes in parts of the state during the last Presidential and National Assembly elections, and the rumour of reprisal attacks, Archbishop Martins charged all political parties to sheathe their swords and allow the tranquility for which the state is known to subsist.
Pleading with all those fuelling embers of ethnicity and disunity in the state to desist, the cleric said: “I wish to call on all residents of our dear state, Lagos, not to allow their political differences degenerate into any form of violence, such that will polarise the state and throw it into chaos.
“We hear of how the elections of February 23, 2019 are currently generating tension in parts of the state, with ethnic groups going against one another. Let us all remember that Lagos is a metropolitan city and home to over 17 million Nigerians drawn from far and near. We are all brothers and sisters. It does not matter where we come from or which religion we profess.
“We should, therefore, learn to accommodate one another’s political differences; shun violence and avoid the temptation to undermine the security of life and property of any one. Lagos is known as one of the most peaceful cities in the country. Let us desist from any act capable of undermining our peaceful coexistence.”
On cases of electoral violence recorded in the state, Archbishop Martins said this was unfortunate and condemnable, considering the various efforts made by the Church and Civil Societies to sensitise the electorate on their rights and responsibilities, before, during and after casting their votes.He called on government and law enforcement agencies to look closely into the matter to forestall future occurrences, particularly the next round of elections coming up next Saturday.
He said: “We are in a democracy, which allows for one-man-one-vote. It is wrong for anyone to dictate or impose his or her will on another concerning whom to cast his or her vote for. Such acts are undemocratic and undermine the provisions of the Electoral Act. I urge those involved to desist from such acts forthwith.”
Archbishop Martins also called on political parties and those contesting for political offices in the state to prevail on their supporters to desist from undermining the rights of the electorate, by intimidating them with a view to disenfranchising them or disrupting the electoral process.
He also called on parents and guardians to prevail on their wards to resist attempts to use them as canon fodders for political upheavals and thuggery.