By Philip Nwosu
Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Alfred Adewale Martins, has 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.
Martins, who spoke during the celebration of its 62nd birthday anniversary, said 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 attack. So, in principle, every human being has the right to defend himself or herself. But the practice of that needs to be examine thoroughly before putting it to use.”
The clergy also chided those criticising 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 a Biblical verse: “Give to Caesar, that which is Caesar’s and to God that which is God’s,” he said if people’s aspirations were largely met, there would be less crisis in the society.
“When the people enter into a social contract with the state, there are obligations and responsibilities on both parties 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 and banditry.
“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.