Nigerians Suffering Terribly Because of “skin deep” Religiosity, Catholic Archbishop Says

Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese. Credit: Archdiocese of Abuja/Facebook.

The people of God in Nigeria are suffering because of their beliefs of excessive religiousness manifested in their uncharitable treatment of each other and discriminations based on faith, a Catholic Archbishop in the West African country has said.

In his homily at St. Anthony’s Parish of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama said that the inhuman acts as portrayed by the majority of Nigerians emanate from greediness and pursuit of short-lived political powers, which he said result from “skin deep” religiosity. 

“As a nation, we suffer terribly because our religiosity is skin deep as shown in our uncharitable treatment of one another, malicious words and actions, terrible discrimination against those not of our faith or tribe, very greedy and false dependence on wealth or the blind and irrational pursuit of ephemeral political power, resulting in all sorts of very notorious and inhuman acts,” Archbishop Kaigama said February 13 during the commissioning of Lectors.

The Nigerian Archbishop acknowledged some of the violent activities in the Catholic Parish including the gruesome murder of a parishioner and extended his condolences to the family of the victim, assuring them of his prayers.

He called upon the more than 550 Lectors who were commissioned to find happiness through their way of life and to rid themselves of pride, anger, fear, and distrust, among other vices.


“Today we commission over 550 Lectors for our Archdiocese, carefully selected and properly trained for the ministry of proclaiming the Word of God at Mass and at other liturgical assemblies. We urge you to be dedicated and to strive to live holy and exemplary lives in accordance with the Word of God that you read in the scripture,” Archbishop Kaigama said February 13.

Reflecting on the Readings of the day and focusing on the Beatitudes in Luke’s Gospel, he cautioned against putting trust in human beings at the expense of God and in material things saying that it is unfortunate that blessings in the current world are measured in terms of material possessions.

“Unfortunately, those who have put their trust in man and in the things of this world are the ones admired in our contemporary society,” Archbishop Kaigama said, and added, “Our life has become so superficial that whenever the word ‘blessing’ is mentioned the first thing that comes to mind is material benefits, not being blessed with a saintly life of honesty, wisdom, love, gentleness, self-control, the fear of God, patience.”

The Nigerian Archbishop said that there is nothing wrong in having possessions but that it becomes dangerous when people start trusting their possessions more than God with a view of getting contentment.

Refuting claims that man’s happiness lies in the material possessions, Archbishop Kaigama said that the claim has made many Nigerians to search for possessions even to the extent of engaging in inhuman acts such as money rituals.

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“Because we think happiness consists in material acquisitions and comforts like money, position, prestige, is why many people today do not see anything wrong with just becoming rich at all cost even if it means ritual killing or kidnapping for ransom,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

He explained in reference to the Beatitudes in Luke’s Gospel, “We must note that Jesus does not encourage poverty by saying, ‘Blessed are the poor’. He means that the kingdom of God belongs to those who are poor in spirit; that is, those who truly understand their need of God and are ready to open up to Him in order to be satisfied by Him.”

Archbishop Kaigama further made reference to St. Augustine’s quote, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in God,” and sought to explain what true happiness entails saying, “St. Augustine made several attempts to find happiness in the things of this world: knowledge, power, wealth, women, influence etc. When he had given into all these, he still felt empty and unfulfilled.”

He highlighted Job’s suffering in the Bible and other forms of sufferings encountered by the people of God and underscored the need to trust in God without relenting despite the magnitude of the suffering.

The Local Ordinary of Abuja Archdiocese called upon those aspiring for political seats in Nigeria’s 2023 elections to remember that power should be aimed at benefiting Nigerians languishing in poverty and hope to those in despair.


“We call on those who clamor so fervently for power in the 2023 elections to realize that power is meant to be exercised in favor of Nigerians plunged into poverty; to bring joy to those who are deprived and to kindle the flame of hope amidst the darkness of despair,” Archbishop Kaigama said in his February 13 homily.