Advertisement

Nigerian Archbishop Cautions against “suppressing” Youth With “reasonable demands”

Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese. Credit: Abuja Archdiocese/Facebook

The Archbishop of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese has cautioned the Federal Government against “suppressing” the voices of the youth protesting against bad governance and insecurity in the West African country.

In his homily Sunday, June 13, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama termed the demands of the youth who took part in the Saturday, June 12 demonstrations as “reasonable” and called for restraint and creativity in handling protestors.

Young people in Nigeria marked the country’s annual Democracy Day, June 12 through street protests, saying democracy in the West African nation is under threat. The demonstrators cited multiple cases of insecurity, bad governance, and the recent Twitter ban, among other issues that seem to threaten democracy.

On June 5, Nigerian authorities suspended Twitter after the service provider deleted a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari arguing that the Nigerian President had violated the Twitter’s terms of service.

In reaction to the June 12 protests in Nigerian streets, security agents fired tear gas and detained a section of the youth who were taking part in the demonstrations.

Advertisement

Suppressing the voices of the youth, Archbishop Kaigama said, “or scaring them away is not a solution, but responding positively and creatively to those reasonable demands of theirs.”

Archbishop Kaigama who was presiding over Sunday Eucharistic celebration at Sts. Peter and Paul Nyanya Parish of Abuja Archdiocese further said, “In our myriad of challenges, our nation may be failing but it has not failed.”

He advocated for patriotism urging citizens of Africa’s most populous nation to “intensify building patriotic hearts, structures and institutions and rise above hatred, stereotyping, sectional interests, and bigotry, divisive and manipulative tendencies.” 

“It is our prayer that Nigeria will mature beyond the polarization based on religion and tribe, so as to be a shining light of social integration for Africa,” said the Local Ordinary of Abuja. 

He went on to express concerns about the country's reliance on oil as the primary source of revenue saying such dependency “constitutes the major source of our quarrel about injustice and marginalization.”

More in Africa

“There will be less demand for oil in the future and some countries are preparing to use electric vehicles or energy sources like solar and wind, a technological transformation that will render oil redundant,” Archbishop Kaigama observed, proposing animal husbandry and farming as alternative sources of revenue.

To foster animal husbandry and farming, the Nigerian Catholic Church leader called for an end to the “needless” antagonism between livestock keepers and crop farmers.

“Stop the needless hostility between farmers and herders, and rather invest heavily in modernizing these sectors which can help to reduce the number of unemployed youths on the streets,” the Archbishop who will turn 63 next month said.

He challenged the unemployed youth in Nigeria to remain focused and “not allow the healthy seeds in them to die.”

“Keep dreaming positively and back it up by doing even petty jobs that will give you the dignity to eat from the labor of your hands. God will reward your patience,” he said. 

Advertisement

“We implore fellow Nigerians to truly rededicate ourselves to God; show respect to one another, identify with the poor, and practise genuine forgiveness and reconciliation,” Archbishop Kaigama said June 13.