Falana, Sanwo-Olu, others advocate peace at Okogie lecture

The Lay Apostolate Centre of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, last Thursday, organised the 12th edition of the Anthony Cardinal Okogie Foundation Annual Lecture, themed: “Security of life and property: A prerequisite for peaceful coexistence – the roles of the State and the church.”

The event, which held in Lagos, had in attendance human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana; Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; the celebrant, Archbishop Emeritus of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Okogie; Archbishop of Lagos, Alfred Adewale Martins; Episcopal vicars and other representatives from different dioceses across the country.

The speakers urged the state and the church to play their roles at ensuring that peace reigns in the country.

Falana, who was the guest speaker, said it is the responsibility of state governments at all levels to provide security for its citizens and ensure that wherever they are, their lives and property are secured. He applauded Lagos State for being one of the peaceful states in the country and called on other states to emulate it. He also advocated community policing and ranching as a way to avoid communal clashes between farmers and herdsmen.

While extolling the celebrant’s virtues and how he fought the military juntas, Falana berated churches preaching prosperity messages.

Sanwo-Olu, who commended the church and the critical role it played during the independence era, said securing lives and property is government’s sole responsibility.

The governor, represented by the Special Adviser on drainage and water resources, Engr. Joe Igbokwe, commended Okogie and the organisers of the programme. He called on the church and religious organisations to the partner state government by emphasising the message of morals, tolerance, acceptability, hospitability, and accommodation, which would ensure peace and permanent relationship among the tribes.

Okogie enjoined citizens, state and the church to work together to ensure that there is security in the land.

He said: “Citizens must be law-abiding if there is to be security. The state must also be law-abiding.

The state’s primary responsibility is to ensure that the land, its people, and their belongings are secure. To do this, the state must be exemplary in obeying the law of the land. She must always and promptly obey the courts of the land.”

Martins, who described security as the fundamental human right of every human being, said the current state of insecurity in the nation is an indication that the government is not doing enough to secure the lives and property of its citizens.

He said: “The effect of this is that it becomes a threat to our peaceful coexistence as a nation or even the continued existence of the nation as we know it. The church has a duty to encourage members to shun all forms of violence. It should spread love and encourage our people to desist from different expressions of animosity, mutual suspicion, hate speech, and ethnic rivalry…”

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