“Declare state of emergency to spare the country looming anarchy”: Nigerian Archbishop

Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins of Nigeria's Lagos Archdiocese/ Courtesy Photo

The Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Lagos Archdiocese has urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to declare a state of emergency in the country due to rising cases of insecurity.

In a Friday, May 28 report availed to ACI Africa, Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins expresses concerns about “incessant cases of kidnapping in almost all conceivable places, murder of innocent people, including Policemen, burning down of police stations, correctional facilities, and INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) offices nationwide."

In the report compiled by the Communications Director of Lagos Archdiocese, Fr Anthony Godonu, Archbishop Adewale is quoted as bemoaning “the failure of the government at all levels to decisively address the root causes of insecurity across the country and bring their perpetrators and sponsors to book.”

“The Federal Government of Nigeria should declare a state of emergency in the country to spare the country looming anarchy which is staring at us,” the Nigerian Archbishop recommends.

The recommendation, the Catholic leaders explains, “has become very necessary in order to spare the country from the looming anarchy that is staring us in the face.”


He apportions blame to Muhammadu Buhari-led Government for its failure to address the various challenges bedeviling the West African nation and highlights corruption as a problem that competes favorably with insecurity.

“It is obvious that insecurity, apart from corruption, has become the single most serious problem that is facing our country today. Many innocent persons are being kidnapped for ransom, many are being attacked in their homes and displaced with their properties destroyed and normal life disrupted daily,” the Local Ordinary of Lagos is quoted as saying.

“Even Policemen and their stations are being deliberately attacked with impunity,” he bemoans and explains, “What this means is that the country is gradually drifting into a state of anarchy. This, no doubt, portends a grave danger for our collective wellbeing.”

In the Archbishop’s considered view, there is an urgent need for action. "This is no time to play the blame game or to play politics through sectoral efforts,” he says, justifying his call for the declaration of a state of emergency.

Alongside the declaration of a state of emergency in Africa’s most populous nation, Archbishop Adewale calls upon the Buhari-led government to “roll out practical action plans with time frames within which the situation will be brought under control.”

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“There must be a collective effort through a robust consultation with all stakeholders. We all must come together to fight this hydra-headed monster of insecurity that is making life difficult for our people,” the Nigerian Archbishop who will turn 62 on June 1 recommends.

In making every effort to take back control of the country, Archbishop Adewale recommends “constant dialogue” with various stakeholders.

There should be, he says, “constant dialogue between representatives of the security agencies and major stakeholders such as religious leaders, traditional rulers, leaders of ethnic groups, the civil society, and political parties.”

The Catholic leader whose Archdiocese is headquartered in Nigeria’s largest city calls upon members of the “National Assembly to follow through on the process for the amendment of the Constitution of Nigeria so as to pave the way for such needs as the creation of state police and revalidation of the federal character of the republic. These would certainly help in restoring peace and security all over the country.”

He also attributes current Nigeria’s problems to what the May 28 describes as “an age-long systemic problem with governance at the national level.”


As a way forward, the Archbishop wants the present structure revised as it “places too much power on the Centre, while the states continue to operate without adequate authority to chart the path for their development.”

He echoes recent recommendations by some elder statesmen for the constitution to be amended to reflect what was in the first 1963 constitution.

The Catholic Church leader who has previously faulted the Buhari-led government for failure to rise up to the occasion in ensuring that there is peace joins other Christian leaders in Nigeria to mourn the country’s Chief of Army Staff and ten other military officers who died in a plane crash last May 21.

“The only way to honor the dead is to strive harder to overcome insecurity and make the country a better place for all citizens to live in,” Archbishop Adewale says.

He also calls upon “the various ethnic groups agitating for self-determination to embrace dialogue and shun violence so as not to exacerbate the insecurity in the land, causing more hardship for the people.”

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Addressing himself to Nigeria’s political leaders, the Archbishop who has been at the helm of Lagos Archdiocese since August 2012 urges the recognition that “Nigerians are going through a lot of hardship occasioned by the economic downturn.”

He calls for intervention, asking the “government to seek new ways of bringing an end to the herders/farmers clashes which are adversely affecting the planting and harvesting of agricultural products, especially in the southern parts of the country.”

Archbishop Adewale who adds to the number of Nigerian Catholic Prelates who have bagged peace awards for going beyond their ways to champion for the country’s stability also calls on “well-meaning Nigerians to be their brother's keepers by extending hands of charity to the less privileged and the downtrodden in the country.”