Lagos Catholic Archdiocese Condemns Use of Ethnic, Religious Sentiments to Derail Protest

By Sunny A Ijomah

The Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos has condemned the hijacking of the peaceful protests across the country, saying that those who have brought in ethnic and religious sentiments are only aiming to derail the march to a new Nigeria.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Archbishop of Lagos, Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins, condemned the fact that the protests which started off peacefully, had degenerated into uncontrollable violence across the country and multiple divisions.

‘We have witnessed an unimaginable level of vandalism and looting of both public and private properties and business not only in the Lagos but also in many other parts of our country.

‘This was a sad departure from  a noble cause and a wicked hijack of the peaceful protests that our young people had been embarking on.

‘To make matters worse, 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.

‘Yoruba Land, in general and Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, in particular, has been a melting pot of people from all parts of Nigeria and indeed, from all parts of the world.

‘This has been a source of strength for our country and the Church. We urge all that see such video clips and similar postings to ignore them and resist the urge to circulate them. It is very significant that some State Governors, as well as many eminent Nigerians and respected groups, have denounced such divisive messages,’ the statement read in part.

The Archbishop therefore called on the young people to not allow the use of the same “old tactics of political entrepreneurs” to cause division among them and make them lose focus.

He urged them to be wise in their discernment of messages that employed ethnicity or religion in a way that excluded rather than bound people together.

According to the Archbishop, the consequences of allowing such narratives to fly were too grave and the price to pay was too high and it was in the best interest of everyone to embrace harmony and peaceful co-existence so that all may live peaceably and comfortably wherever they chose to live in the country.