Let’s Unite to Inspire Nigerians to “true religion”: Catholic Archbishop to Faith Leaders

Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama lays hands on one of the Deacons he was about to ordain a Priest. Credit: Archdiocese of Abuja/Facebook

The Archbishop of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese has urged faith leaders in the West African country to foster unity among themselves to inspire the people to “true religion”, which he said helps minimize the temptation to engage in vices.

In his homily during the Priestly ordination of 12 Deacons to the Priesthood at Holy Cross Catholic Parish Gwarinpa of Abuja Archdiocese, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama said Nigeria will achieve the “much-needed national consciousness and cohesion” if religious leaders unite. 

“We religious leaders in Nigeria must be united in inspiring our people in whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely and commendable,” Archbishop Kaigama said in his homily Saturday, August 20.

He added, “The aim of true religion is to help people reduce spiritual, moral and social vices. We get it wrong when some of us lift private religious practices above national interests or the common good, letting religious distrust, suspicion and stereotypes dominate, and refusing to simply see fellow Nigerians as neighbors to be loved and cherished.”

Archbishop Kaigama said that religious leaders “must teach our fellow religious adherents how to accommodate others with respect and dignity and to use religion to promote integral human development and social harmony rather than hatred, division and violence; just as politicians should teach their fellow politicians to behave patriotically and create a social ambience that fosters unity, peace and progress.”


Archbishop Kaigama said religious leaders need to be “terribly” worried about the political situation in the country as “bad politics and bad governance” have led to the suffering of the Nigerian youths.

“Because of bad politics and bad governance, our young ones, discouraged and crippled by socio-economic conditions at home, are desperately seeking greener pastures in countries that our resources as the so-called ‘giant of Africa’ could be ten times more than theirs,” he said.

He added that due to bad governance, many Nigerian youth remain at home because of the government's failure to respond positively to the demands of members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) who have been on strike since February and the fact that learning institutions have become unsafe.

“Religion should enhance the worship of God; holiness of life, and prepare people for life in heaven,” the Nigerian Catholic Archbishop said. 

He explained, “If only we use religion to build solid relationships with one another and with God, we will conduct politics without bitterness, malice or violence; we will have equitable distribution of resources and appointments made into influential positions with greater sensitivity and balance.”

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“This is how we can achieve the much-needed national consciousness and cohesion, when merit dictates national policies or choices and not who you know or what tribe you come from or the religion you practice,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

He urged the 12 Deacons he was to ordain Priest to remain focused in their Priestly ministry, saying, “Do not be distracted by the very things you are renouncing for the sake of the kingdom of God. Jesus wants you and us to preserve the dignity of the office of the Priesthood according to His will.”

He added that as Priests, the 12 have been sent by Jesus “not in search of personal purses, haversacks, sandals, the very things He forbade His disciples from looking for while on mission.”

“Go therefore and be ‘priest enough’ for the people. Be messengers of hope, animators of faith communities and spiritual guides to the people. May your voice echo the voice of Jesus – a voice of hope, a voice of truth, a voice of justice and righteousness,” Archbishop Kaigama said August 20.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.