Catholic Archbishop Says 2022 Very Difficult Year for Nigeria, Hopes for Better Days Ahead

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

With high levels of insecurity, increasing poverty, amid the worst type of inflation that Nigeria has seen in years, the West African country has survived the worst year in recent history, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja has said.

In his New Year 2023 message to the people of God in Nigeria, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama says that citizens of the West African nation “are in dire need of anything that can inspire some hope”, having experienced a very challenging year.

“We have experienced God’s generosity in very practical ways in 2022. We have survived an ever-worsening climate of fear and uncertainty in a time when the helplessness of government saw non-state actors unconscionably stake a claim for our lives, our property, and our freedoms,” Archbishop Kaigama says in his January 1 message.

He adds, “We have lived with and survived a culture of kidnapping, hostage-taking, and mindless murder. It is still not yet over though as the drama still plays on.”

The Nigerian Archbishop refers to various instances of terrorist attacks across the West African nation, noting that Nigerians had been left traumatized and with unanswered questions regarding the security situation of their country. 


“The Kaduna deadly train attack in March and the agonizing months the abducted passengers spent in the hands of armed men left us all traumatized,” he says, and adds, “The daring Kuje prison attack by Boko Haram and precipitated secessionist rallies left all of us begging for answers.”

Archbishop Kaigama says that the travel advisories that were issued against the West African country on the risk of travel to Nigeria and the subsequent arrest of suspected terrorists in October left the country “reeling in fear”.

He describes the situation in the South-East region of Nigeria as “volatile”, amid an imposed lockdown by militias that he says are making life in the region difficult.

The Nigerian Archbishop says that Nigeria has also grappled with a dwindling economy and the worst type of inflation that he says has had far-reaching consequences on people’s social life.

“Everyone, both those in government and the governed, suddenly all needed the grace of God to survive and outlive 2022. And yet we are here today just because God has brought us thus far,” Archbishop Kaigama says.

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He adds, “Surrounded by so much bad news and associated with some of the worst scenarios, our people are in dire need of anything that can inspire some hope. Together – both people and government, we must sincerely work towards that change that brings hope.”

The Catholic Church leader who started his Episcopal Ministry in April 1995 as Bishop of Nigeria’s Jalingo Diocese calls on the Nigerian government to place people in the center of both politicking and governance.

Such people-centered approach, he says, can be done by ensuring safety and security, reconciling what he describes as fragmented parts of the nation, and providing an enabling environment for the country’s economy to thrive again “as a precondition for remedying the worsening problem of poverty and living crisis for most Nigerians.”

“While we acknowledge with delight the recent heightening of the tempo of the war against non-state actors and the encouraging results that have brought, we urge the authorities to sustain these measures and do everything imaginable to secure every part of the country and ensure an auspicious climate for the coming elections,” Archbishop Kaigama says in reference to Nigeria’s polls slated for February 25.

He urges authorities in Nigeria to give space to dialogue in ending violent conflict, saying, “No matter how much the use of arms has achieved, we must not forget that honest dialogue can also be a veritable tool for collectively building a Nigeria of our dreams that looks after all.”


“The spirit of dialogue should govern the current political campaigns towards the 2023 elections and above all ensure fair play and respect for the opinion of the people when eventually expressed when the ballot is cast,” the Local Ordinary of Abuja Archdiocese says in his New Year 2023 message.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.