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Put Borrowed Funds to “judicious, effective use”: Archbishop to Nigerian Government

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

Government officials in Nigeria have been cautioned against diverting externally borrowed funds and public resources to sustain their lavish lifestyles and instead use the money to develop the nation.

In a pastoral message presented at the end of the 2nd General Assembly of the Archdiocese, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama bemoans the state of the West African country, which he says, is riddled with corruption and suffering among the poor.

“As we demand the dividends of democracy, we call on the government to put into judicious and effective use, the huge amounts being borrowed externally to run the affairs of government and finance projects across the nation,” Archbishop Kaigama says in the pastoral message shared Saturday, September 25.

He added, “Many of our young people roam the streets with dim hopes for a brighter future. We cannot in Nigeria therefore remain blind to the issues of corrupt governance, unemployment, insecurity, the discontent among the young people and the increasing inability of many to meet the basic necessities of life.”

“Our political leaders should not feverishly dissipate energy in perfecting their costly political strategies while abandoning their social responsibilities to the people,” The Catholic Archbishop of Nigeria's Abuja Archdiocese further says.

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He goes on to note that the citizens of Africa’s most populous nation “cannot continue to dream of a better Nigeria and gloss over the serious lacunae in the Electoral Act.”

“It only follows that a good Electoral Act will lay the foundations for a credible election exercise to produce leaders, working for the common good,” the Nigerian Archbishop says in his September 25 pastoral message issued on the occasion of the Archdiocesan Assembly. 

During the September 24-25 Assembly, members of the Clergy, women and men Religious, and Laity in the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, examined the Archdiocese’s pastoral and social programs and how the programs affect the local church and the nation.

In the pastoral message, Archbishop Kaigama expresses gratitude to Pope Francis for declaring the year 2021 as the “Year of St. Joseph”, which he says continues to be a period of grace, rich with blessings and renewal not only for Christian husbands and fathers, but also for the institution of marriage and the family.

“We have experienced greater signs of forgiveness and love, giving strength and hope to many families in our Archdiocese,” he says.

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In his address to participants in the Archdiocesan Assembly, the Nigerian Archbishop noted that African countries had been spared from adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which he said had, unfortunately, brought to the fore many other challenges on the continent.

“By divine intervention, Africa has been spared from the widely speculated destruction by the coronavirus pandemic that ravaged every continent of the world,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

However, he added, “the pandemic exposed our weak political stamina and fragile economy to more difficult situations that constitute a setback towards effective evangelization and the rapid development of our people.”

“We condemn in totality the violence and relentless attacks by insurgents, bandits, kidnappers and people with criminal and dubious motives across some segments of our country,” the Archbishop said, and expressed regret that insecurity has crippled economic and agricultural activities, forcing the nation to depend on external loans for survival.

“The root causes of these crises and criminal acts are not unknown to the authorities, but the unhealthy sentiments seem to play out in the handling of the menace with kid gloves,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

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He appealed to the country’s government and the law enforcement agencies to do all that is necessary to tackle the issue of national insecurity and restore lasting peace.

Meanwhile, the Local Ordinary of Abuja has explained the Synod on Synodality, which Pope Francis announced earlier this year to solemnly open next month.

“Synodality means the people of the Church ‘walking together’, gathering together in assemblies, and harnessing their spiritual, pastoral, intellectual and material gifts through dialogue, attentive and prayerful listening to one another,” Archbishop Kiagama said.

The just ended General Assembly for the Archdiocese of Abuja, the Nigerian Archbishop said, is a form of Synodality, where delegates from Parishes, pastoral areas, Chaplaincies, church Societies listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Archdiocese.

Others who participated in the Assembly, which the Archbishop likened to a Synodal process, were members of the Clergy of the Archdiocese and representatives of each female and male Religious Order serving in Abuja Archdiocese.

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“This helps us to find a way of enhancing evangelization, and thereby, contributing to the welfare, progress and development of our Church and the nation,” Archbishop Kaigama said.