Nigeria Transiting “from one major national challenge to another”: Catholic Archbishop

Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Nigeria's Abuja Archdiocese. Credit: Archdiocese of Abuja

The challenges faced in Nigeria including “criminal activities and mindless killings” are endless as they seem to replace each other, a Catholic Archbishop in the West African country has said.

In his Sunday, January 16 homily at St. Andrew’s Parish of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama underscored the need to appreciate sacrifices made by those who died trying to restore peace and living heroes in the country.

“In Nigeria we seem to transit from one major national challenge to another. We witness the criminal activities and mindless killings such as the recent attacks in Zamfara State, and efforts by terrorists to establish themselves as a government within a government, yet, the assurances of political leaders and security operatives always leave more to be desired,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

The Nigerian Archbishop made reference to the just concluded annual Armed Forces Remembrance Day in the country marked on January 15 and called for prayers for the veterans and survivors of war as they searched for peace.

“We join millions of Nigerians to appreciate the sacrifices of our fallen and living heroes. We must continue to pray for the departed ones, expressing solidarity and showing kindness to the veterans and survivors, while urging the government to pay particular attention to the welfare of the men and women who have made selfless contributions to the search for durable peace for all Nigerians,” the Local Ordinary of Abuja Archdiocese said.


Unfortunately, he added, “we have become too uncertain about many things; unsure each day about what will become of our people if they go to the farms or streams; what may befall villagers at night, or even in broad daylight in the cities, where people get abducted in exchange for raw cash.”

Making reference to the Sunday Gospel reading about the first of the signs by Jesus Christ, during the wedding at Cana, Archbishop Kaigama said that many Nigerian families are running out of the “wine of gladness” due to the challenges they face.

“Many families are quickly running out of the wine of gladness as they are threatened by moral and social vices, economic hardship; arising from poor and corrupt governance,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

He continued, “As Jesus filled the empty water jars with water turned into wine, we all have to beg God to fill our hearts and the hearts of others around us with genuine love.”

Ahead of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2022, the Archbishop who has been at the helm of Abuja Archdiocese since November 2019 also spoke on the need for the people of God to embrace religious unity and cautioned against disrespect for fellow Christians.

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“The scandal of disunity still persists in the church. And if there is any major setback today that the church must tackle it is the lack of unity of mind and heart, and disrespect for fellow Christians,” he said ahead of the prayer initiative that is traditionally observed from January 18-25.

Making reference to the prayer initiative that has been scheduled for January 16-23 in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, the Archbishop said, “We must allow the Holy Spirit to bind us together and to teach us to respect the gifts and talents of other Christians even if they seem insignificant in our eyes.”

Speaking on the equality of humanity in the eyes of God, the Nigerian Archbishop said that each person has something to offer in the society and in the church.

“We must accept each other as God’s special gifts to be loved, respected and appreciated. Together, with the help of God, we can record many more successes and ascend to greater heights,” Archbishop Kaigama said in his January 16 homily.

He likened the lives of people in Africa’s most populous nation to the “wine of life” which he said had run out in their lives.


“Like the bride and groom in our Gospel today, there are many people whose ‘wine of life’ has run out, meaning that they suffer dejection and sadness,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

He added, “Many in our country are nervous like the groom of Cana. Some live in bitter days and unhappy moments, without the privilege of a healthy and comfortable life, compounded by the indifference and insensitivity of leaders at all levels.”

The 63-year-old Archbishop further explained that Nigerians need to embrace solidarity, and understanding, in order to gain spiritual favor from God.

“We need the wine of honesty, enthusiasm, understanding, solidarity, mutual acceptance, self-giving and forgiveness. Jesus challenges us today to convert the water of indifference and apathy to the wine of spiritual favor,” he said.

Archbishop Kaigama encouraged the people of God at St. Andrew’s Parish to always remember Mary’s message to the people, “Do whatever He tells you.”

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