Catholic Archbishop Laments “cloud of despair” in Nigeria after Attack on Parish Priest

Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama at St. Mulumba’s Parish in Igu, Bwari Area Council of Abuja. Credit: Abuja Archdiocese

The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja in Nigeria has condemned a recent attack on a Parish Priest in the Archdiocese, lamenting that the people of God in the West African country are experiencing “a cloud of despair” amid heightened killings and kidnappings.

Speaking during his Sunday, April 23 homily at St. Mulumba’s Parish in Igu, Bwari Area Council of Abuja, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama expressed his solidarity with the Parish Priest who he said had been violently attacked in a raid at the Parish during which some parishioners had also been attacked.

“Today I come among you not to administer the sacrament of confirmation, but to pray with you, to encourage you, and to express my pastoral solidarity with you on account of the security challenges that you encounter now and again, due to attacks on your community by “unknown gunmen”, Archbishop Kaigama said.

He added, “During the last attack, some of your members and those of the community were kidnapped and a violent attempt was also made on the priest in the parish house.”

The Nigerian Catholic Archbishop highlighted several other places that have fallen under banditry in Nigeria, saying, “The cloud of despair hovers over us with the ugly incidences of kidnapping, violence, and unprovoked attacks such as the cases in Nasarawa, Benue, Southern Kaduna, Southern Taraba, and in different parts of the country.”


Archbishop Kaigama decried the silence of the Nigerian government amid attacks on innocent civilians and called on the country’s authorities to act with speed to tame the violence.

“It is sad that despite the promises of the government to ensure the safety of her citizens, these heinous acts of criminality continue to fester in different communities across the nation. Proactive measures must be taken once and for all to bring such ugly situations under control,” he said. 

The Local Ordinary of Abuja further appealed for the change of heart of those involved in perpetuating what he described as “dastardly acts” of the people of God in Africa’s most populous nation. 

He also prayed for the safety and quick release of all who are held in captivity by their kidnappers.

Archbishop Kaigama encouraged Nigerians to keep their hope alive despite their difficult situation compounded by insecurity, saying, “Let our minds remain focused on the risen Lord and Saviour, who has won for us such a great victory through His passion, death and His glorious resurrection, opening for us the pathway to eternal life.”

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He called on Nigerians to be encouraged by St. Paul’s reassurance in Romans when the Apostle says, “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

“As a people of faith, we must not be blinded by our sufferings or be buried in them; we must look towards the resurrection and hold on firmly to the promises of God,” the Catholic Archbishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in April 1995 as the Bishop of Nigeria’s Jalingo Diocese said.

He added, “As Christ rose from the grave, we believe that all will be well again. Our lands and communities will by the grace of God, be renewed to become safer, more peaceful, and more prosperous.”

According to the Local Ordinary of Abuja, the joy of Easter and the celebration of Sallah by Muslims ought to inspire the people of God in Nigeria to look inwards towards renewal and newness to genuinely work to realize peaceful coexistence and harmony.

In his message of solidarity with Nigerians especially those in embattled States, Archbishop Kaigama said, “May the risen Lord, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, continue to guide us and give us the strength and courage to proclaim His truth and resurrection to the world.”


“As Jesus walked with the sad, dejected, worried disciples, may we experience His consolation in our dark moments,” the Catholic Church leader said April 23.

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.