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Nigerian Youths Resort to Emigration after They “feel unappreciated at home”: Archbishop

Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama administers the Sacrament of Confirmation at Immaculate Heart of Mary Dabi Parish of Abuja Archdiocese/ Credit: Abuja Archdiocese/Facebook

Nigerian youths who have relocated to other countries have done so because they feel unappreciated in their native country, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja has said. 

In his Sunday homily on July 4, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama compared the experiences of Nigerian youths who feel “unappreciated” with that of Jesus who faced hostility from the people of his hometown captured in the Sunday Gospel reading.

“Our youths likewise feel unappreciated at home, and so, their faith in the country is shaken and they prefer to flee to other prosperous countries in search of greener pastures,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

Foreign countries, the Archbishop said, “have become beneficiaries of some of Nigeria's best fleeing intellectuals, experts and skilled personnel.”

“Little wonder, the US, UK, Canadian and other embassies in Nigeria are often crowded by young people seeking visas to ‘check out,’” the Nigerian Archbishop further said.

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According to Pew research, Nigerians account for the largest population of migrants in the US, Norway and Switzerland. 

In his homily during the Sunday Eucharistic celebration at Immaculate Heart of Mary Dabi Parish of Abuja Archdiocese, the Catholic Church leader implored Nigerians who have emigrated to “not forget” their ancestral roots and to consider returning to the West African nation.

“My plea to those who have no other choice than to leave our fatherland is to come back after finding knowledge, treasure and socio-economic balance,” he said, adding, “Do not forget your roots, culture and language or allow the frustrations you experienced at home to make you hate your fatherland/motherland.” 

Archbishop Kaigama went on to pray that Nigerians who have left the country find success in their endeavors while abroad and “look back on your beloved country with magnanimity, and seek to promote her interests.”

In the Holy Mass that saw 108 Catholics receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Church leader also called on the country’s leadership to “pay particular attention to the genuine agitations and clamor of Nigerians for social justice, inclusive governance, improved security, adequate social services, increased youth empowerment and seek ways of meeting the legitimate needs of the masses.”

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“Nigeria must celebrate her own, failure of which forces our young people to escape elsewhere due to what an ancient philosopher Protagoras, would describe as ‘might is right,’ namely, where the rich, influential and powerful are always right, and even those who fleece our common patrimony are bestowed with prestigious traditional, religious, academic or national honors,” he said.

The Church in Nigeria “must try not to neglect any segment: the children, the teenagers, the youth, the women groups, the Mass servers, etc. and not misunderstand, scorn, despise, reject or undermine anyone’s gifts and contributions,” the Archbishop who will turn 63 at the end of the month further said.

“It is my earnest prayer and desire that God will renew in the hearts of all of us a prophetic zeal, and grant us the grace that is sufficient for us even as we face insecurity, economic hardships and personal crises,” said Archbishop Kaigama.