Catholic Archbishop Cautions against Use of “religion as a weapon of violence” in Nigeria

Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama (First from left ) during the opening Mass of the 2nd Plenary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) at Holy Trinity Church, Maitamain in Abuja Archdiocese. Credit: Abuja Archdiocese.

The Archbishop of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese has urged the people of God in the West African nation to address the “real problems” they face, and cautioned against the use of religion to foster a culture of violence in the country. 

In his Sunday, September 10 homily during the opening of the 2023 Second Plenary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama urged the country’s authorities to deal with religious leaders who make “inflammatory statements” on social media.

“I call on Nigerians to face the real problems that confront us and stop firing religious missiles, using religion as a weapon of violence, or even taking life at the slightest provocation,” Archbishop Kaigama said during the Eucharistic celebration held at Holy Trinity Church, Maitama in his Metropolitan See.

The Nigerian Catholic Archbishop added, “Those religious leaders who make inflammatory statements in videos on social media should be cautioned by the appropriate authorities.”

“Our Christian and Islamic bodies rather than engaging in offensive or defensive rhetorics or threats should always preach the need for holiness, peaceful coexistence, compassion, good neighborliness, rather than encouraging the use of verbal or physical violence,” he said.


Archbishop Kaigama said that he found it regrettable that Nigeria is still “grappling with divisions fueled by ethnic tensions, economic disparities and very sadly, the abuse of religious loyalties.”

He urged citizens of Africa’s most populous nation, irrespective of their respective affiliations, “to reach out across ethnic, political, and religious lines” with a sole purpose of bridging gaps and reconciling differences.

Amid cases of insecurity in the country, the latest one being the September 7 attack on St. Raphael Fadan Kamantan Parish of Kafanchan Catholic Diocese and the setting on fire of the rectory that resulted in the death of Seminarian Na'aman Danlami, Archbishop Kaigama said that faith in God is the necessary tool for Nigerians.

Faith should promote positive actions among the religious people and also foster “solutions to the multidimensional problems our nation faces” rather than being used as “an excuse for being passive,” he said.

The Catholic Church leader who started his Episcopal Ministry in April 1995 as Bishop of Nigeria’s Jalingo Diocese continued, “Our faith remains a guiding light just as the Psalmist reminds us in Psalm 145:18 that ‘the Lord is near to all who call upon him,’” 

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“Christians and citizens of Nigeria are called to be watchful and proactive in speaking out against injustice, advocating for the marginalized and working tirelessly for the common good; condemning corruption or criminality even if our illustrious sons or the youth of our ethnic or religious groups are involved,” the Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese since November 2019 said in his September 10 homily.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.