Ethnic Profiling in Nigeria’s Gubernatorial Poll among “unacceptable” Vices: Archbishop

Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins. Credit: Lagos Archdiocese

The Archbishop of Nigeria’s Lagos Archdiocese has condemned “in very strong terms” vices in the recently held Gubernatorial elections.

In a Wednesday, March 22 statement, which the Director of Social Communications of the Nigerian Archdiocese issued, Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins highlights ethnic profiling, hate speech, and violence among the vices that characterized the March 18 poll, terming them “unfortunate and unacceptable”

Media reports have indicated a “deluge” of fake news on social media forums, with experts and activists crediting political actors for expanding “the scope of misinformation”.

In the March 22 statement, Fr. Anthony Godonu says that the Local Ordinary of Lagos Archdiocese “condemned in very strong terms all forms of ethnic profiling, utterances, and violence witnessed in some parts of Lagos state, before, during, and after the recent elections.” 

Archbishop Adewale describes as “unfortunate and unacceptable, the tension, hate speech and violence, especially before, during and after the recent Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections in some parts of the state.”


The Nigerian Catholic Archbishop says that “the ethnic and discriminatory comments” that are being circulated on social media do not reflect the “true nature” of people of God under his pastoral care who are “known to be very peace-loving, accommodating and cosmopolitan.”

He calls upon everyone to “put a stop to the spread of hate speech and fake news and to shun all forms of rancor.”

“The divisive comments and behaviors, particularly along the ethnic or tribal line are not conducive to good neighborliness and peaceful coexistence,” says the Catholic leader whose Archdiocese is headquartered in Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos.

He continues, “The people of Lagos must not allow the political class to whip up such divisive sentiments to disrupt their lives and livelihood.”

He notes that Nigerians “are all equal before God and the only man-made distinction among people is between the poor and the rich, the privileged and the underprivileged.”

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“We are all Nigerians and have lived and interacted together as one people for decades in Lagos and other parts of our country,” says the Catholic Archbishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in January 1998 as Bishop of Nigeria’s Abeokuta Diocese.

Archbishop Adewale also commiserates with families that lost loved ones and those whose properties were destroyed following election-related violence and urges law enforcement agencies to indiscriminately protect the lives and properties of Nigerians.

He goes on to urge residents of Lagos to “remain calm and not allow themselves to be divided against their neighbors.”

In his victory speech following the March 18 gubernatorial polls, the Lagos State Governor-elect Babajide Sanwo-Olu condemned ethnic profiling, saying that the people settled on competence and experience.

“Lagos is what it is today because of you, regardless of ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, gender, or age,” said the governor who was re-elected for the second term after garnering 762,134 votes.


Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.