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Insecurity, Poverty, Corruption in Nigeria Forcing Youth Out of Country: Archbishop 

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

Young people in Nigeria are leaving the West African nation in large numbers in search for “greener pastures” elsewhere, a situation the Archbishop of the country’s Abuja Archdiocese blames on insecurity, poverty, and high levels of corruption by those in leadership positions.

In his homily on the third Sunday of Easter, April 18, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama compared the departure of most youth out of Africa’s most populous country to that of the two disciples who embarked “on a sad journey to Emmaus” after the death of Jesus. 

“Today, our collective and individual experiences in Nigeria have forced especially some of our youth to embark on a sad journey to ‘Emmaus’ in the diaspora, with the hope of finding greener pastures,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

He added that the youth “are driven away from where they call home by an inhospitable social environment of corrupt governance, which robs them of their rights and privileges, as well as a high insecurity as manifested in the daily killings, kidnappings, etc.” 

“Like the disciples of Emmaus, who said ‘we had hoped…’” the Archbishop said in reference to the Sunday Gospel reading, “our youths had hoped for a better country, a nation meeting their material and social needs, but their hopes seem to be dashed by poor governance and the insensitivity of leaders to issues of equity and merit.”

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In his homily during the Eucharistic celebration at St. Peter’s Pastoral Area, Jiwa, in the Archdiocese of Abuja, Archbishop Kaigama highlighted the long-standing challenges in Nigeria saying, “Since independence, successive democratic and military leaders kept promising poverty alleviation by improving socio-economic conditions, but after over sixty years, we are not only still poor, but terribly unsafe.”

The Archbishop of Abuja further decried the fact that politicians have started campaigning for the 2023 polls “while strategies to improve the welfare of over two hundred million Nigerians are in the back burner.”

“Some are prepared to pitch the two dominant religions in Nigeria against each other or the North against the South,” he added in reference to the misplaced priorities of a section of Nigerian politicians.

The consolation of the people of God in the West African nation, the 62-year-old Archbishop said, “is that Jesus still walks with His disciples as He did on the way to Emmaus.”

“To all Nigerians, we say, once there is life, there is hope. The best will come someday, somehow, by the grace of God, to supersede the current seemingly hopeless situation,” he further said. 

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Archbishop Kaigama continued, “Easter makes us sharers in the victory brought to us by the resurrection of Christ; it emboldens us and sustains our hope even in the midst of tough challenges, whether spiritual, social, political or otherwise.”

He went on to advise Christians in Nigeria to sustain their relationship of the person of Jesus Christ “that he can appear to us and accompany us.”

“Christians must keep ‘talking about Jesus’ and to Jesus,” he said, adding that while many followers of Christ are faced with material difficulties, they “no longer talk about or with Jesus but instead talk about miracles and prosperity, encouraged by greedy preachers who capitalize on the people’s poor socio-economic conditions.”

Archbishop Kaigama further observed that little time is given to the things of God as is given to social activities in families.

“We rarely ‘talk about Jesus’ in social gatherings or social media platforms because we are ashamed that people may tag us ‘religious,’” the Nigerian Archbishop remarked, adding, “It is only when we talk often about Jesus and with Jesus that he can appear to us and accompany us as he did to the disciples on the road to Emmaus.” 

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“As he was victorious over sin and death, so will he help us to victory in our spiritual and social challenges,” Archbishop Kaigama said in reference to Jesus Christ.