By Philip Nwosu
The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, has admonished the Lagos State House of Assembly to purge itself of legislative biases and discrimination, urging the lawmakers to work towards enacting laws that are for common good.
Archbishop Martins said the Lagos House of Assembly should take care of the interest of all the residents of the State.
His comments came in the wake of a statement ascribed to the Speaker the House of Assembly, Mr. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa, who in his acceptance speech after he reelected for the third term as Speaker had stated that the House will employ all legislative instruments to favour indigenes against people of other tribes living in the state.
He had said: “We also aim at achieving our collective goals of creating a robust legislative framework that protects the interest of our people. Going forward in this wise, we are going to employ all legislative instruments for the support of the indigenes of Lagos.
“There would be laws and resolutions in the areas of economy and commerce, property and titles, and we will reverse all that are reversible to protect the interest of the indigenes.”
The Archbishop said n the light of the tension and clear divide between indigenes and people of other tribes living in Lagos that were created by threats, words, and actions of people from all sides during the last elections, the statement credited to the Speaker did not seek to calm situations and heal the wounds that were inflicted in that period.
“While we cannot wish away the fact that Lagos State has its own original indigenes, we cannot also wish away the fact that most of those who live, work and are indeed part of the government of the state were originally from elsewhere and everyone needs to be protected.”
He therefore described as unfortunate and unacceptable any legislation that discriminates against people of other tribes with whom the Lagos indigenes have lived together in peace for decades.
In a statement signed by the Director of Social Communications, Rev. Fr. Anthony Godonu, the prelate urged the legislators to be circumspect in carrying out their legislative duties so as to maintain the peace and good neighborliness that has characterized the state.
“No one destroys what he loves; if the state legislators love Lagos State, they would make only laws that will help to preserve, enhance and ensure the sustenance of peaceful co-existence in the State. We therefore admonish the Lagos State House of Assembly to tread with caution in making laws so that they pass only laws that mean well for the state and would not be used as instruments of bigotry and ethnic discrimination.”
No doubt, the LAHA has a very important role to play in our democratic processes, but this role must be played with fairness and justice to all Nigerians living in the State. This is the time for healing the hurts that came from the 2023 General elections, and we must all work together for the good of our state and Nigeria at large.”
The Archbishop commends the state legislators into the hands of the Almighty God to guide and direct them so that they may have the gift of the spirit of true discernment that will help them to help in the delivery of the gains of democracy to all the people of Lagos State.