Most Reverend Alfred Martins, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, has strongly condemned all forms of ethnic profiling, hate speech, and violence witnessed in some parts of Lagos State before, during, and after the recent elections, stating that if the trend is not immediately reversed, it could threaten the peaceful coexistence of the state’s residents.
The clergy denounced as terrible and unacceptable the tension, hate speech, and violence in various areas of the state before, during, and after the recent gubernatorial and legislative elections.
In a statement released by the Director of Social Communications, Rev. Fr. Anthony Godonu, the prelate urged the state administration to restore peace and normalcy expeditiously.
He also urged the law enforcement forces to protect the lives and property of all inhabitants, regardless of their tribe, religion, or ethnicity.
He stated, “The ethnic and discriminatory comments circulating on social media do not reflect the genuine essence of Lagosians, who are renowned to be peace-loving, tolerant, cosmopolitan, and support inter-tribal marriages for decades.
“I urge everyone to cease the spread of hate speech and fake news and to avoid all forms of animosity. The divisive remarks and actions, especially along ethnic or tribal lines, are not conducive to peaceful cohabitation and neighbourliness. The people of Lagos must not permit the political class to incite such divisive attitudes that damage their lives and means of subsistence. Before God, we are all equal, and the only distinction between individuals is between the poor and the wealthy, the privileged and the disadvantaged.
“We are all Nigerians and have lived and interacted as one people in Lagos and the rest of our country for decades.
“Now that the elections are done, we hope that those who have been stoking racial tensions will be more prudent and refrain from further inflaming the political climate. We must be law-abiding people and never violate the law in any way.”
As part of his efforts to support a national healing process, Archbishop Martins also urged law enforcement officials to take the necessary steps when crimes have been committed.