Catholic Archbishop in Nigeria Cautions against “go-back-to-your-home mentality”

Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama administering the sacrament of confirmation at Christ the King Kubwa Parish of Abuja Archdiocese. Credit: Archdiocese of Abuja

The Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese has decried ethnic discrimination in the West African nation characterized by what he has described as a “go-back-to-your-home mentality.”

In his homily during the Eucharistic celebration at Christ the King Kubwa Parish of Abuja Archdiocese, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama called for “social cohesion” achieved through adherence to the message of Nigeria’s “national anthem.”

“Very often we hear, ‘Go back to your State, to your tribe; here is not your land.’ After having been born in a place, schooled and worked for an entire life, one is still considered a stranger and does not qualify to obtain an indigene certificate,” Archbishop Kaigama said Sunday, July 11. 

Contrary to Europe and the US where people with Nigerian origins hold various offices, he observed, “back home it is unthinkable to find a Nigerian holding a lucrative or influential position outside of one’s state of origin; no matter how qualified the person may be, despite what we sing in our national anthem about being bound in freedom, peace and unity.”

He cautioned against discrimination based on ethnicity and nationalism saying, “Had the father of former US President Barack Obama been required to present an indigene certificate before settling and studying in the United States, Obama might not have been born there, not to talk of being elected to the prestigious office of the President of the United States.”


Archbishop Kaigama went on to call on Nigerians “to work together with faith, dedication, selflessness and zeal, so that we don’t only achieve social cohesion and genuine progress, but also that our names will be written in the book of life after our earthly sojourn.”

The 62-year-old Nigerian Archbishop also noted the infiltration of the “go-back-to-your-home mentality” into faith-based entities and advised, “The Church must not lower her moral standards; she must always uphold Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

Religious leaders, he said, must remain strong amid rejection. 

Archbishop Kaigama also expressed concerns about the presence of ministers of the word of God who betray their Priestly and prophetic mandate in order to please political leaders.

Such Pastors, he said making reference to the first reading of Sunday, July 11, are like Amaziah, the Old Testament Priest who “represents all those who benefit from the fortunes of those in power, and refuse to speak for the good of the poor, the less privileged and the downtrodden.”

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“While many ‘men of God’ claim to be speaking the mind of God, there is a difference between those who are truly called and sent by God and those who are merely working for their stomach like Amaziah,” the Nigerian Archbishop said. 

Even more unfortunate, he went on to say, “is the fact that the Amaziahs have taken over the kings’ courts today and block everyone from coming near those in public office. They are also quick to dismiss or manipulate every advice, observation or criticism that the Amos of our time offer to the Excellencies, Distinguished and Honorable leaders.”

The Archbishop called on church leaders in Nigeria to heed the message of Amos who preached “in favor of victims of social injustice, economic manipulation, violence, unabated crime and poverty.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.