Alfred Martins, Catholic archbishop of Lagos, says President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Lagos will put Christians in a “difficult situation” and “deprive them of their right to worship”.
The Catholic archbishop said the president is visiting the state when Christians are supposed to be taking part in Holy Thursday and Good Friday celebrations.
In a statement signed by Gabriel Osu, director of social communications, the archbishop lamented that the president’s visit coincided with the “most important days of the year for Christians when they celebrate the events of the salvation of the world”.
He said Christians will be subjected to “untold hardships” due to the closure of roads and the ban of commercial motorcycles on many routes.
The cleric said 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”.
The archbishop said although the president has the right to visit any part of the country, such trips “should be sensitive to the situation of people especially when it involves the fulfilment of the religious obligations which their faith requires of them”.
He expressed hope that several factors would be put into consideration when planning for similar visits in the future.
“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,” the cleric said.
“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.” (The Cable)