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Christians have right to defend themselves against attack -Archbishop Martins

Photo: From left, Chancellor, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Monsignor Anthony Obanla, former Archbishop of Lagos, His Eminence, Cardinal Anthony Okojie blessing the Archbishop of Lagos, His Grace, Most Reverend Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins during the 62nd birthday celebration of the Archbishop on Tuesday.

By Ben Ibe

The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins said on Tuesday that Nigerians and particularly Christians being attacked and killed in the northern part of the country have right to defend themselves against incessant attacks on their communities by invaders tagged herders.
Archbishop Martins spoke during the celebration of his 62nd Birthday anniversary, explaining that one of the moral principles in life  is that, “If a person is under attack, he has the right to defend himself with equal force that he is being attacked. So in principle every human being has right to defend himself or herself. But the practice of that needs to be examined thoroughly before putting it to use.
“I hope that as people defend themselves we recognize that we cannot be the aggressor and will defend ourselves when the need arises.”
The Clergy also chided those criticizing the church for speaking about issues relating to governance, explaining that “the church has the moral authority that it uses in interfacing with the people and the word of  God being the basis for such interaction.
“The church will continue to awaken the conscience of  the people of our nation on the values that are necessary for the common good, the church will assist in teaching the people about issues concerning love for one another. If we stick to the teaching, the society will be good for it.”
According to him, the current mood of the nation does not call for celebration, but for sober reflection.
Citing  the Biblical verse: `Give to Ceaser, that which is Ceaser’s and to God that which is God’s,’ he added that if peoples’ aspirations were largely met, there would be less crisis in the society.
His words: “When the people enter into a social contract with the state, there are obligations and responsibilities on both parties in order to strike an equilibrium in the pact.
“The people owe the country their civic duties while the country owes the people provision of services to retain their trust and for a better society.
“Regrettably, those salient conventions have taken flight from our polity and thereby ,paved the way for mistrust, corruption, banditry, amongst others.
“It is callous for a human being to take another person’s life while the country, under whose control it is to check such inhumanity, appears helpless.
“From the north to the south, every part of the country is witnessing one form of brigandage or the other,” he said.
The cleric, who decried the constant discordant voices in the country, noted that the unity of Nigeria was desirable, adding that those clamouring for self-determination only do so due to systemic failure.
Martins called on the Federal Government to address the situation by first improving on security, saying that with insecurity, the nation’s unifying factors were under threat.
He said the church would continue to do its part to aid the country in pruning peoples characters, but charged the government to increase funding of the nation’s security apparatus to enable them to meet up with current challenges.

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