The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins has charged on all Nigerians to desist from circulating video clips with negative contents; particularly such that promote religious and ethnic bigotry. The Archbishop, in a press statement issued on October 27, 2020, instead sued for harmony and peaceful coexistence amongst Nigerians. The prelate observed that, “we have seen people making social media postings trying to incite ethnic and religious sentiments in order to shift focus away from a noble cause spearheaded by the young”.
Archbishop Martins decried the unfortunate development where “political jobbers” wickedly “hijack the peaceful protests that our young people had been embarking on” in order to play “the ethnic and religious cards to derail initiatives which they know are capable of jeopardizing their class interest”. Against the false EndSARS narrative attempted from these quarters, the Archbishop argued that “the issues at stake are neither tribal nor religious and those behind this sort of contrived narratives cannot mean well for our country”.
Thus he urged all well meaning Nigerians to be wary of falling prey to such divisive efforts and avoid giving such people the “platforms on which to thrive” because such consequences can be “too grave and the price to pay …too high,” he warns. Nevertheless, the Prelate lauds “some State Governors as well as many eminent Nigerians and respected groups” who have publicly denounced such divisive messages. It will be recalled that the dynamic and committed Archbishop of Lagos had, two days before the ugly Tuesday night shooting of young protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate, released a statement cautioning those in authority to dialogue with the youth rather than hurt them. Archbishop Martins therefore condemned the killings of young, peaceful and armless protesters, as well as the wanton destruction and looting of “both public and private properties and businesses not only in Lagos but also in other parts of our country”.
The Archbishop, a great lover of youths, exhorts all “Young people from all over our country and indeed, the entire people of Nigeria” to “be wise in their discernment of messages that employ ethnicity or religion in a way that exclude rather than bind people together”. He therefore cautioned that “the country needs peace and a chance to heal from the wounds that we are all nursing at present,” so everyone should endeavour to “speak words of peace and reconciliation so that we can begin to heal as a country and overcome the present setback in the march to a new Nigeria”.