Nigeria’s High Cost of Living “imposes on us a compulsory fast”: Catholic Archbishop

Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of the country’s Abuja Archdiocese. Credit: Abuja Archdiocese

The high cost of living in general and the “exorbitant cost” of foodstuff in particular has subjected the people of God in Nigeria to “a compulsory fast”, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of the country’s Abuja Archdiocese has said.

In his Sunday, February 25 homily at the Holy Cross Gwarinpa Parish of his Metropolitan See, Archbishop Kaigama said, “The exorbitant cost of yams, beans, rice, corn, meat, etc., imposes on us a compulsory fast.”

He posed, “When called to fast in a time like this, how can you fast from what you don’t have in the first place?”

The Lenten Season, the Nigerian Catholic Archbishop said, “is a period when we are expected not only to pray more but also to fast, to feel for those who suffer from deprivation of food and the essentials of life; to spare what we fast from to be able to share with those who don’t have.”

Archbishop Kaigama said he found it regrettable that the West African nation currently has a growing number of the don’t haves, a situation he said complicates the motive of the Lenten fast. 


He went on to reflect about the categories of the needy in the Nigerian society, posing, “Is it the army of qualified but unemployed youths? Or people whose salaries can no longer sustain them.”

During the Lenten Season, Archbishop Kaigama urged the people of God in Nigeria to fast against bad habits, which he listed as “gossip, slander, defamation of character, envy, greed.”

In his homily at the Eucharistic celebration in which he confirmed 88 parishioners and solemnized the marriages of 12 couples, the Nigerian Catholic Church leader called upon the candidates for the Sacraments to read the Sacred Scriptures. 

“I recommend a reading of the letter of James, to all of us, especially to those to be confirmed and those having their marriage blessed, one chapter a day,” the Local Ordinary of Abuja since November 2019 said.

Archbishop Kaigama used the readings of the Second Sunday of Lent to emphasize the need for true obedience, which he said should include a life of sacrifice.

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“We must all imitate Abraham who obeyed God to the point of offering his only son, Isaac, as a sacrifice until God stopped him,” he said referring to the First Reading, and added, “We must learn from the example of God Himself who as we read in the second reading today, sent His only Son to die for our sins.”

He continued, “When as Christians we are selfless and ready to sacrifice for the cause of God, and we put into practice what St. James teaches in his letter, we shall experience the transformation described in the Gospel whereby the clothes of Jesus became dazzlingly white, whiter than any bleacher could make of them.”

The example of Abraham’s faith and obedience is a demonstration of how Christians can obtain blessings from God, the Catholic Archbishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in April 1995 as Bishop of Nigeria’s Jalingo Diocese said.

He added, “Let us give back to God our time, treasure, and talents and not forget being kind to the poor when God provides for us, no matter how small.”

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.