*says timing of visit did not consider Christians
As the Christian Holy Thursday activities begin, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, His Grace Most Rev. Dr Alfred Adewale Martins, has described the planned two-day working visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Lagos as ill-timed.
In a release signed by the Director of Social Communications, Msgr. Gabriel Osu, Archbishop Martins wondered why Mr. President chose to make the visit to Lagos at a time that coincided with the most important days of the year for Christians when they celebrate the events of the salvation of the world.
According to him, in view of the large population and clustered road networks in the state, the closure of roads coupled with the ban of Okada on many routes, Christians who will be taking part in the Holy Thursday and Good Friday celebrations would be subjected to untold hardships. In addition, Christians who would also like to welcome their President have been put in a difficult situation of deciding whether to fulfil their religious obligations or go out to welcome the President.
The timing does not take into consideration Christians in government and security services who would be required to be at work to ensure a smooth, secure and safe visit of the President. It is really unfortunate that the timing of the visit would create such hardships for people and deprive some of their right to worship and take part in the most important feast of their faith.
While acknowledging that the President, as the father of the nation, has the right to visit any part of the country as he deems fit in the course of his work, Archbishop Martins said the timing of such visits should be sensitive to the situation of people especially when it involves the fulfilment of the religious obligations which their faith requires of them.
While conceding that this scheduled visit may not be altered now as it is rather close, he expressed the hope that all peoples would be put into consideration in planning for similar visits in the future.
He said “We hope that those who plan such visits that are likely to disrupt the normal flow of the life of people would be sensitive enough especially when they affect the right of people to practice their faith and worship as they choose. I hope that the security Agencies would be mindful of the fact that people would be going about fulfilling their religious obligations on Thursday and Friday, (the two days that the President would be in Lagos) and therefore not make things unduly difficult for them”.