“We possess the power to sow the seeds of peace”: Catholic Archbishop to Nigerians

Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins of Lagos Archdiocese. Credit: Lagos Archdiocese

Nigerians have the ability to spread peace in their country and realize unity in diversity, love, and the actualization of the principle of mutuality, Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins of Lagos Archdiocese has said. 

In a Monday, January 8 statement, Archbishop Adewale decries challenges Nigeria is grappling with, including “unrest, discord, and disturbance”, which he says are caused by politics, social fragmentation, economic disparities, or religious and cultural differences.

He further highlights “worrisome incidents” in the country, including the 2020 EndSARS protests, the fanaticism and intolerance that led to the tragic murder of Deborah Samuel, the kidnap and murder of Priests and women and men Religious.

He says that banditry attacks such as the Christmas 2023 attacks in Plateau State “remind us of our duty to strive for peace.”

“We must journey together, hand in hand, as we explore pathways to peace upon which our community, our city, and our nation shall attain the desired peace,” the Nigerian Catholic Archbishop says.


He emphasizes the need for Nigerians to find the best solution to their country's challenges by working “collectively towards a more harmonious society as we seek and strive after justice and peace.” 

“It is in these trying moments that the light within us, enkindled by our shared values and bound by our common humanity, must shine even more brilliantly,” the Catholic Archbishop says. 

He recognizes the ability of his compatriots, saying, “We possess the power to sow the seeds of peace that will grow into a garden of understanding, tolerance, and unity.”

The Local Ordinary of Lagos explains that working for peace “necessitates being immersed in the life of our communities and practicing patience, tolerance and forgiveness in our daily lives.”

“Peace is a sacred and invaluable gift that we are called to pursue and nurture actively. Peace is not a passive state but an ongoing and dynamic process that demands perpetual attention and constant effort to attain and maintain,” he says.

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He further describes peace as “a virtue we must cultivate within ourselves and our communities, recognizing that only when we are at peace within that we can effectively labor for peace in the world.”

The Catholic Archbishop goes on to note that peacebuilding needs efforts such as “creating communities of peace where everyone is welcome and accepted, supporting organizations that promote peace, speaking out against violence and injustice, and striving for a more just society with equal access to basic necessities are vital steps.”

The 64-year-old Catholic Church leader who started his Episcopal Ministry in January 1998 as Bishop of Nigeria’s Abeokuta Diocese emphasizes the need to address ethnic tensions, which he says are fuelled by misunderstandings and historical complexities before they develop into “more significant conflicts.”

The values of love, compassion, and forgiveness shared through Christianity, Islam, or rooted in tradition can spur Nigerians to embrace each other, he says. 

Archbishop Adewale explains, “When we come together guided by the values of our faiths, we find a resonance that goes beyond the discordant notes of our differences. Hope becomes the catalyst for transformation, fostering an unwavering belief in the possibility of a brighter tomorrow where peace reigns supreme.”


“Our faith-based communities stand as beacons of hope and moral guidance, possessing collective strength to foster peace within our city and beyond,” he further says.

The Catholic Church leader goes on to appeal, “Let us gather not only in our places of worship but also in shared spaces of understanding and dialogue, where our faiths converge in pursuit of a singular goal: peaceful coexistence.”

He calls upon the people of God in Africa’s most populous nation to remain optimistic in the face of challenges. 

“In these challenging times of turmoil and uncertainty, let us turn to the Lord, seeking His guidance in the course of our lives,” Archbishop Adewale says in his January 8 statement.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.