The Catholic Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos, Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins has called on the Federal Government to do all it can to fish out those who have infiltrated genuine herdsmen, and as such causing problems in the area where they graze their cattle. Archbishop Martins who gave this charge while fielding questions from journalists at the First Plenary of Bishops of Lagos Ecclesiastical Province held Thursday at St. Agnes Catholic Church, Maryland, Lagos also urged associations and Church institutions to master their environment and know how well to deal with challenges that come with situations, especially the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking on the way forward for Lagos Ecclesiastical Province in 2021, he said: “Well, 2020 was a year that hampered many things, and so, we are hopeful that in 2021 things will be a lot better, and we are getting more familiar with all the challenges that come with COVID-19; we are getting familiar with how to go around it. So, with this, am sure that associations will function better, Church institutions will also do a lot more than they have done in the last year. “So, the way forward therefore is to master our environment and to know how to deal with it in such a way that the mission of the Church will continue to be realized. So, I charge the associations to open out more than before, more than we did last year. Of course, get people to be more committed to the faith and to live the faith.
” On the eviction of herdsmen in Ondo and the fallout, the Archbishop said: “Well, this problem with the herdsmen have been there for quite a while, and it will seem they were getting bolder by the day and they are doing things almost with impunity. And so, now that there has been a practical visible challenge, we see that it has forced government to pay more attention to their activities. “I think that it is very appropriate that now, more attention should be paid to safety and security of people. I would say those herdsmen who are real herdsmen, that is the genuine herdsmen, we believe have been infiltrated, and that is why we are having the problems we are having now.
So, we expect the leaders, the Fulanis themselves to fish out those who have infiltrated them; to bring them out for prosecution because they are simply criminals. “So, as government is taking interest now, we are happy, and we are happy that even though it is coming from the ginger of one man, Sunday Igboho, we hope that government will take it up and do something more constructive.” The Archbishop having received reports of the past year from the various groups in the Lagos Ecclesiastical Province, including the religious and laity admonished the people that while they hold their meetings and activities for the year 2021, they should comply with protocols of COVID-19.
On the year of St. Joseph, he said: “The pandemic is not yet gone. I urge you all to work in union with your bishops to carry out activities to commemorate the year of St. Joseph.” Also present at the event were most Rev. (Dr.) Francis Obafemi Adesina, Bishop of Ijebu-Ode Diocese, Most Rev. (Dr.) Peter Odetoyinbo, Bishop of Abeokuta Diocese, the Vicar General of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Monsignor. John Aniagwu, priests, reverend sisters and lay faithful of the Lagos Ecclesiastical Province.