The Nigerian Government has been called upon to see the on-going Revolution-Now protest as a wake-up call from the rank of Nigerians who are undergoing untold hardship, asking government for protection of their lives and properties.
Reacting to the on-going agitation for better lives for Nigerians, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev Dr Alfred Adewale Martins, in a release made public by the Acting Director of Social Communications, Rev Fr Anthony Godonu, said that the Buhari-led government should see the agitation as an opportunity to directly hear the complaints of Nigerians and redouble their efforts towards fulfilling their constitutional role of securing the lives and properties of the people.
Archbishop Martins, while expressing his displeasure over the rising cases of insecurity across the country, particularly the kidnapping and killing of innocent Nigerians by armed bandits, warned that except urgent and concrete measures are taken to reassure Nigerians of the safety of their lives and properties across the country, things may soon get out of hand.
“People may be forced to resort to self-help if the government and the Security Agencies continue to fail them. “The on-going protest by some groups is a reflection of the growing decay in the land and should be a wake-up call for the President to be more creative and decisive in addressing the various agitations bothering the minds of Nigerians”.
“Clamping down on the protesters will not make the problems disappear. Rather, I would urge him, as the father of the nation, to pay attention to the issues that bother the citizens. The fears being expressed about the state of the nation are genuine and they deserve to be looked into urgently so as to save this nation from further distress. President Buhari needs to address the nation on these issues and give people the much-needed reassurance and hope. If this is not forthcoming, people feel free to interpret events as they wish.”
The Prelate, while calling for a speedy arraignment of those arrested during the protest in the court of law, if there are enough grounds to do so, warned that the continuous detention of the protesters without trial may further paint the government as only paying lip service to the tenets of democracy.
The proper and real dividend of democracy includes freedom of expression and assembly, including the freedom to protest.
The Archbishop lauded the recent court judgement of the Kaduna High Court which granted Sheik El Zakzaky and his wife bail to proceed to India for medical treatment.
He urged the Nigerian Government to obey the court judgement and other similar court judgements as evidence of its avowed commitment to the rule of law, adding that the country is ruptured and in need of healing.
He also called on State Governors to intensify efforts to work with the various law enforcement agencies as well as the traditional institutions in order to curb the insecurity across the nation, especially on the highways.
“The people who unleash mayhem on travellers on the highways seem to be foreigners who have infiltrated the ranks of the herdsmen. We urge the Governors to collaborate with all necessary groups.”