“We can reclaim our country”: Nigerian Catholic Archbishop in Easter Message

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

Despite challenges posed by terrorists and other oppressors on the people of God in the West African nation of Nigeria, Nigerians can still reclaim their country, the Catholic Archbishop of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese has said.

In his Easter 2023 Message that he published on his Facebook page Easter Sunday, April 9, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama says, “Easter is also a time to increase our commitment and vigor in confronting our challenges and difficulties, from insecurity and corruption to poverty and unemployment.”

“No doubt, from Boko Haram to banditry and kidnapping, to the threat of violence and terrorism, the stories are both heart-breaking and fear-inspiring just as the terrible events of Good Friday were over two thousand years ago,” Archbishop Kaigama says.

Easter, on the other hand, “reminds us that even in the face of violence and persecution, love and compassion can triumph,” he further says, adding that with love and compassion, “We can reclaim our country and make it a better place.”

To achieve this, Archbishop Kaigama says, “Nigerians must once again learn to stand together as a nation and genuinely work towards peace and unity.”


“We must not allow ourselves to be divided by ethnicity, religion or political affiliation. Corruption continues to remain an obstacle to development in our country,” he says and adds, “Some of the factors that feed it are linked to ethnicity and religious bigotry. Easter teaches us that honesty and integrity are values that we must seek and uphold if we want to build a better Nigeria.”

For the country’s national rebirth to take place, Archbishop Kaigama says, “We must hold our leaders accountable for their actions, demand transparency in all acts of governance and demand a drastic cut in the cost of governance.”

“We must also do our part by being honest and ethical in all aspects of our own lives. It is only by working together to enthrone a culture of trust, to fight corruption that we can create a Nigeria that is fair and just to all,” the Catholic Church leader who started his Episcopal Ministry in April 1995 as the Bishop of Nigeria’s Jalingo Diocese says.

He continues, “Nigeria needs leaders who have the capacity to serve and lead without preferential treatment of groups or individuals to the detriment of others under their care; leaders who ensure equity and at all times do only what is true, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy; not like Pilate, who even though had the power to settle for the truth, handed Jesus over to be killed even when found guiltless.”

“Our leaders must be ready to make personal sacrifices rather than live in scandalous luxury while the vast majority of those who elected them wallow in incredible poverty, complicated by insecurity,” he says.

More in Africa

The Catholic Archbishop adds, “Our leaders must have a living, not a dead conscience, whereby, public funds are taken and misapplied, and costs of government businesses inflated for selfish gains.” 

He says, “Nigerians need leaders who supervise the recruitment, employment, appointment, promotion of citizens or admission into important institutions based on merit and not on ethnic, religious grounds or selfish geopolitical considerations.”

“Some of our leaders feel above the law, giving credence to the saying that laws are like spiders’ webs, where the poor and the weak get caught, but the rich and powerful easily break through them,” he says, and adds, “Our leaders must not use their powers and economic advantage to become laws unto themselves. They should remember that the Supreme Judge (God) is watching and will judge their actions.”

In his Easter Message, Archbishop Kaigama also reflects on the “untold economic hardships” in Africa’s most populous nation.

He says, “Unemployment is high and many families are struggling to make ends meet. The cash crunch has worsened inflation on our already dismal poverty rating. The effects of this are rising tempers and a general climate of dissatisfaction that are both worrying and dangerous. Easter announces to us that there is always hope for a better future.”


The Catholic Archbishop urges Nigerians “not give up on their dreams and aspirations because we know that our Redeemer lives.”

“Reinvigorated by the hope that He alone gives, we must continue to work hard and pursue our goals with determination and perseverance,” the 64-year-old Archbishop says.

He adds, “As we do so, we must also support each other in our endeavors and help create opportunities for one another regardless of ethnic origins.”

“For it is by working together and supporting one another that we can overcome our climate of fear, distrust, and suspicion as well as the economic disaster that stares us in the face and thereby create a peaceful today for ourselves and a better tomorrow for our families,” Archbishop Kaigama says.

Reflecting on the 2023 general elections, which he says “left us with much to reflect upon”, Archbishop Kaigama notes that “although individuals and sections of the country are aggrieved, elections should never divide us but rather bring us together as a people in search of God-fearing leadership.”

(Story continues below)

“As leaders, it is our collective responsibility to address with fairness and justice the issues that arose from the concluded elections to ensure that our democracy continues to grow. In all things, we must emphasize unity; working together to build a Nigeria that is fair, just, and prosperous for all its citizens,” he adds.

As we celebrate Easter 2023, Archbishop Kaigama says, “let us remember the message of hope and renewal that it brings. Let us hold onto that hope as we face the challenges that lie ahead. Let us stand together as a nation; both those who won elections and those who lost.”

“Those who are aggrieved with the outcome of the elections should seek justice in the courts, and it is our prayer that they will find true justice. All that matters now and always is that we must work together towards a brighter future for Nigeria and for all Nigerians,” he says.