Cardinal in Nigeria Cautions against “evil bills”, Urges Christian Legislators to Be Vocal

Peter Ebere Cardinal Okpaleke of Nigeria’s Ekwulobia Diocese. Credit: Nigeria Catholic Network

Peter Ebere Cardinal Okpaleke, the Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Ekwulobia Diocese, has cautioned against Bills that seek to negate gains the West African nation has made in the practice of religion, describing them as “evil bills”.

Speaking during the Thursday, July 13 leadership retreat for National Chaplains and National Presidents of Lay Apostolate groups in Nigeria, Cardinal Okpaleke made reference to the Bill that seeks to regulate Christian education in Africa’s most populous nation.

Members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) expressed their reservations about the Bill in a statement shared with ACI Africa on June 28, terming it “unnecessary and impracticable” and incapable of serving Nigeria’s diverse doctrinal differences.

Recalling the stance of CBCN members about the Bill that seeks to establish a National Council for Christian Education, which would engaged in developing, approving and regulating syllabuses at all levels of Christian education in Nigeria, the Nigerian Cardinal said, “The Bishops made a wonderful intervention, and we expect the Laity to be more proactive in resisting such evil bills, especially those of us who are elected to make our laws.”

The contents of the Bill “are subversive of freedom of worship and bring unnecessary government interference into Christian educational system,” he said during the one-day spiritual event that was held at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN).


He cautioned Christian legislators against silence, saying, “You cannot keep quiet and allow party affiliation or any other interest to rob you of your faith commitment.”

The Cardinal urged the Laity to showcase their Christian values, which he said entail opposing “anti-Christian and evil policies through available legitimate means.”

“To be a true Christian politician is to promote policies and laws because they are objectively right and would bring about the reign of God’s kingdom of love, justice, and peace,”  said the Nigerian Catholic Church leader who was named Cardinal in May 2022 and was among the 20 Cardinals created during the August 2022 Consistory.

He went on to reflect on the role of the Laity in the Church, saying, “The spirituality of the layperson is further demonstrated by the support the person gives to the Church.”

“In the Church, some are called to be leaders in the battle against evil, in campaigns to make Christ known to all, in the numerous activities of the Church, and in defending and governing the widespread kingdom of Christ on earth,” he said.

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By involving themselves actively in the “visible administrative organs of their local parishes, deaneries, regions, and dioceses, like the diocesan synod committee (can. 463§2) and pastoral council,” the Cardinal said that the Laity “can make contributions for the growth of the Church and human society.”

“All of us gathered here for this retreat are involved in this leadership service in one way or another. To be a true leader means becoming a servant to others, sacrificing for them, and fighting for their welfare. A good leader does not count on what he gains but on how well group goals are achieved,” Cardinal Okpaleke said in his July 13 address to National Chaplains and National Presidents of Lay Apostolate groups in Nigeria.

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