Catholic Archbishop in Nigeria Blames Country’s Corruption on Insensitivity to Evil

Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama during the opening of the 2022 Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) Plenary Assembly at St Gabriel’s Chaplaincy in Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese. Credit: Archdiocese of Abuja

The insensitivity of people of God to evil in Nigeria has heightened corruption to the extent that solutions to most challenges are sought through graft, a Catholic Archbishop in the West African country has said.

In his homily during the opening of the 2022 Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) Plenary Assembly at St Gabriel’s Chaplaincy in Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama said that politics in the country is tainted with dishonest practices.

“The declining sense of sin and guilt has elevated corruption almost to a cultural status, so that even when our leaders are asked to respond to the threats of terrorism, combat a pandemic, build roads, houses, bridges, corruption is the arithmetical determinant,” Archbishop Kaigama said during the Sunday, March 6 homily.

The Nigerian Archbishop said that young people in the country have learnt bad ways of corruption from elders. He called for attitude change among different groups including professionals, leaders, the youth, and children.

He said that the instances of young people in the country in search of services such as getting recruited into security bodies and what they go through before getting the services are saddening.


The Nigerian Archbishop cautioned Nigerians against selfish interests and said that the End SARS protests in the country that were caused by police brutality were “honest demands of the youths for a better Nigeria.”

He said that the political system in the West African country is dominated by two factors, which he listed as religion and tribe. He added that some religious leaders only fight to sway crowds to themselves and some opt for prosperity gospel.

“In the realm of religion, we see leaders’ eagerness to sway the crowds to themselves, a sort of personality cult, while others take up to political prophecy or prosperity preaching,” Archbishop Kaigama said during his March 6 homily.

He added, “Worshippers prefer entertaining and dramatic religious services instead of making sober efforts to purge our hearts of evil in order to become the light of the world.”

Archbishop Kaigama said that the mad search for human fulfillments such as wealth, health, power and fertility has lured many people of God in Nigeria to evil acts including ritual killings and strange spiritual practices.

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He advocated for “a complete turnaround” for Nigerians and the need to share God given resources equally, adding that merit should be given priority in everything.

“Nigeria needs a complete turnaround, where we share our God-given resources equitably; merit should take priority in everything, and all should aspire to be patriotic citizens,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

He made reference to Ukraine’s president leading his people on the battle line in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and Chad president who died leading his people in war and said that Nigeria is yet to find leaders ready to die for the nation.

“We are yet to find leaders who are prepared to die for our nation, as in the case of the late President of Chad, Idriss Deby, who died leading his people in battle, or recently, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is courageously leading his people and stoutly defending the territorial integrity of his nation by an invading hostile power,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

He spoke about the need for religious leaders to spearhead dialogue so as to break barriers that are leading to disunity in Nigeria saying, “Leaders of both the Christian and Muslim communities must foster a new and sincere way of dialogue, friendship and interaction; break the barriers that keep us apart.”


He added, “We must remain pillars in our worship communities and not yield to the temptations of the evil one through the greed for possessions and worldly powers. These are the weapons in the arsenal of the devil to destroy our nation and indeed, humanity.”

The Local Ordinary of Abuja Archdiocese called upon the Catholic population in Nigeria to use the ongoing preparations for the Synod on Synodality as an opportunity to effect change.

“We urge our over 50 million Catholics in Nigeria to be instruments of change, not only spiritually, pastorally, but even politically, using our preparations for the Synod on Synodality as a new spring board,” the Nigerian Archbishop said.

He further urged government officials, church leaders, civil servants and all Nigerians in leadership positions “to make a new and strong determination to build a civilization of love, social justice, compassion, freedom and peace, and to overcome evil with good.”

“As we engage in prayer, fasting and almsgiving during this Lenten Season, may the swords, clubs, guns, bombs and knives used to maim, kill and destroy one another be beaten into ploughshares,” Archbishop Kaigama said, referencing the prophet Isaiah. 

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He cautioned parents against absenteeism in families and said that such a culture is threatening the existence of families. He noted that parents are too busy and distracted even to oversee family prayers.

“The family, the expected domestic church, the place of love and healing has become a place where members are strangers to one another,” Archbishop Kaigama said, and added, “What of the intrusive nature of social media?”

He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic did not only disrupt economies, interpersonal relationships, distancing many from the warmth of fraternal encounters, “but also threatened to cripple cherished ecclesiastical programs and traditions.”

However, Archbishop Kaigama said, “COVID-19 pandemic, and not even terrorists’ attacks, kidnappers’ menace, biting hunger in the face of spiraling prices of commodities, dehumanizing corruption, could cripple our faith and commitment to serve our country as ministers of the Catholic Church.”