Lagos — NEW Catholic Archbishop of Lagos Metropolitan See, His Grace Alfred Martins Adewale, yesterday, took a cursory look at the state of the Nigerian nation and gave thumbs down for the Federal Government's lack lustre handling of the security challenges and the war against corruption, declaring the Boko Haram sect as terrorists bent on destabilizing the country.
The Archbishop said: "Our government is not doing enough to deal with corruption. It needs to do much more than it is doing so far. I can immediately refer to the corruption in the oil sector of the economy where certain individuals were indicted, taken to court and suddenly we begin to hear that the cases were not thought through before they were taken to court.
"That leaves a lot to the imagination. If the office of the Attorney General is not in the position to think out cases to the minutest detail before charging them to court, only to go there before the trial gets under way, to say there was a mistake, leaves much to the imagination," the archbishop lamented.
He added that the agencies fighting corruption should be strengthened to fight the war to its logical conclusion.
While restraining Christians from any form of violent attack on anybody, the archbishop threw his weight behind calls by the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, for Christians to defend themselves by whatever means whenever they come under any attack, saying that human life is sacred and must be regarded as such by anybody.
He also urged the Federal Government to urgently deal decisively with all acts of aggression against the people, while also giving thumbs up for the option of dialogue where necessary because "war has never brought about lasting peace in the history of humanity."
In his maiden chat with newsmen at the Church of Assumption, Falomo in Lagos, the Archbishop with his Archdiocesan Director of Social Communications, Rev. Monsignor Gabriel Osu, also used the occasion to condemn the brutalization of journalists on their legitimate assignments.
The archbishop argued that true federalism, which was the pathway to national development created by the nation's founding fathers before the military intervened in the political process, is non-negotiable because that is the only basis for Nigeria's aspiration to level up with other nations that began the political voyage with Nigeria but have left her behind.
Archbishop Martins argued that the nation had gone back to democracy after a long period of military interregnum, pointing out however, that "we have not addressed the real positions where the real Nigeria began at independence. Unless we consider we where before the truncation of democracy by the military we will not be able to know exactly what to do, because true federalism was what the fathers proposed the nation's development."
Arguing that the major developments the nation had witnessed since independence took place during the first republic before the military intervention because the true federal nature of governance, he said; "we didn't have a situation where everybody had to go to the seat of the federal government to queue for allocation in order to carry out projects.
"If at this time of period of our nationhood we are not making progress as those who started the journey like us, then we need to go back to the basics to find out why we have not made any headway," he argued, "it is on this basis that I argue that true federalism is not something to negotiate or debate about. It is just necessary because that is the only way we can be at par with other nations in the world."
The Catholic Archbishop also linked the current agitation for state police to the call for true federalism, noting "if it was a federal system truly speaking then it will be possible for all the federating units to have the kind of apparatus that is needed in order to maintain the security in their own part of the country."
According to him, if the federating units have a measure of control over their own police they will be able to manage the current security situation better, noting "naturally it is absolutely impossible to have knowledge of what is happening all over the nation. The creek of the Delta cannot be policed as the savanna of the North."
On the brutalization of journalists, Martins expressed happiness that Lagos Gov. Babatunde Fashola and other well meaning Nigerians have been speaking out unequivocally against this negative trend, saying there is no justifiable reason why anybody should attack a man who is going about his constitutional duties.
"While calling on government, our law enforcement agencies ad other stakeholders to rise up to the challenge of safe guarding our journalists against any form of molestation in the course of carrying out their legitimate business, I equally urge the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, not to relent in its efforts to ensure that the rights of its members are protected at all times," he stated.