By Sam Eyoboka
THE Catholic Archbishop of Lagos Archdiocese, Most Reverend Alfred Adewale Martins has the Muhammadu Buhari administration to urgently declare a state of emergency on insecurity now to stem the spate of killings in the country.
Archbishop Martins worried by the incessant cases of kidnapping in almost all conceivable places, murder of innocent people, including Policemen, burning down of police stations, correctional facilities, and INEC offices nationwide, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos said such a move has become very necessary in order to spare the country from the looming anarchy that is staring us in the face.
In a recent release made available to newsmen and signed by the Director of Social Communications, Rev. Fr. Anthony Godonu, the prelate who would clock 62 years on Tuesday June 1, 2021, “bemoaned the failure of the government at all levels to decisively address the root causes of insecurity across the country and bring their perpetrators and sponsors to book.
“Efforts to rid the country of kidnappers and bandits, should include constant dialogue between representatives of the security agencies and major stakeholders such as religious leaders, traditional rulers, leaders of ethnic groups, the civil society, and political parties,” he said.
He called on the National Assembly to follow through on the process for the amendment of the Constitution of Nigeria so as to pave the way for such needs as the creation of state police and revalidation of the federal character of the republic. These would certainly help in restoring peace and security all over the country.
According to him, “It is obvious that insecurity, apart from corruption, has become the single most serious problem that is facing our country today. Many innocent persons are being kidnapped for ransom, many are being attacked in their homes and displaced with their properties destroyed and normal life disrupted daily. “Even Policemen and their stations are being deliberately attacked with impunity. What this means is that the country is gradually drifting into a state of anarchy. This, no doubt, portends a grave danger for our collective wellbeing.
“This is no time to play the blame game or to play politics through sectoral efforts. There must be a collective effort through a robust consultation with all stakeholders. We all must come together to fight this hydra-headed monster of insecurity that is making life difficult for our people.
“So, we call upon the federal government to declare a state of emergency on insecurity and roll out practical action plans with time frames within which the situation will be brought under control,” he added.
Archbishop Martins, while noting that the insecurity being experienced all over was part of an age-long systemic problem with governance at the national level, also called for a review of the present structure, which, he says, places too much power on the Centre, while the states continue to operate without adequate authority to chart the path for their development.
He therefore supported the recent call by some elder statesmen for the revalidation of the federal structure of the country as anticipated by the founding fathers of the country and articulated in the 1963 Nigerian Constitution of the country, even if the configuration of the constituent parts of the federation is different from what it was in the 1963.
Commiserating with the federal government and families of the deceased military officers who lost their lives in the recent air mishap that also claimed the life of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Ibrahim Attahiru, Archbishop Martins said the only way to honour the dead is to strive harder to overcome insecurity and make the country a better place for all citizens to live in.
The prelate appealed to the various ethnic groups agitating for self-determination to embrace dialogue and shun violence so as not to exacerbate the insecurity in the land, causing more hardship for the people.
He reminded the political leaders that “Nigerians are going through a lot of hardship occasioned by the economic downturn.”
He called for various forms of interventions to help cushion the hardship. On the rising cost of foodstuff in the market, he asked government to seek new ways of bringing an end to the herders/farmers clashes which are adversely affecting the planting and harvesting of agricultural products, especially in the southern parts of the country.
The Archbishop also called on well-meaning Nigerians to be their brother’s keepers by extending hands of charity to the less privileged and the downtrodden in the country.