Embrace “distributive justice”, Nigerian Catholic Archbishop Says, Urges Support for Needy

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

The Catholic Archbishop of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese has called for “distributive justice” in the way in which those in authority deal with their subjects, and urged those in leadership to ensure that everyone gets their dues and the poor are taken care of.

In his Sunday, December 12 homily at St. John the Baptist Parish of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama made reference to the message of John the Baptist and called upon different units of service in the West African country to uphold integrity in executing their duties.

“The message of John the Baptist was hinged on distributive justice, which means giving everyone his or her due; it means that no businessmen or women should cheat others; those at the checkpoints must not extort money from people,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

The Nigerian Archbishop called upon his compatriots to help those who are helpless and those who lack basic needs of life and also to focus on God when faced with life difficulties, saying that it is a way of creating true happiness and joy.

“Today, we are called to concretize charity towards those who are helpless and in dire need of basic necessities of life. Christians are also enjoined to focus on God when faced with problems,” Archbishop Kaigama said.


Making reference to the readings of the Third Sunday of Advent, also called Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday, he added, “True joy consists in seeking the good of others and doing all within our means to put smiles on the faces of those who suffer.”

The Archbishop explained, “The Gospel offers us a hint of what creates true happiness and joy among the community. John the Baptist whom the people approached to ask what they must do after listening to his preaching, told them that those who have more should give to the less privileged.”

He cautioned those in charge of financial institutions including customs officers and budget makers in the West African country against enriching themselves through manipulative means.

“Those in charge of drafting our budget must not manipulate it in order to make themselves rich; and those in charge of payment of pensioners or workers’ salaries must not delay payment especially now that the costs of essential items are prohibitive,” the Local Ordinary of Abuja Archdiocese said.

He identified other societal groups who he said would have received guidance from John the Baptist.

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“If politicians had come to John, he would have admonished them to selflessly serve the people and seek to fulfill their campaign promises. If those in business had come to John, he would have told them not to exploit people and be fair in their dealings,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

He further added in reference to John the Baptist’s message, “If married people had come to John, he would have told them to live by their marriage vows of fidelity and love for their family. If lawyers had come to him, he would have told them to uphold justice and not to distort the truth.”

The Nigerian Archbishop urged doctors to preserve lives and not to engage in actions that might threaten human life.

To Clerics, he said, “If Priests had gone to John, he would have told them to bring people closer to God and constantly nourish the people through the Word of God and the Eucharist.”

Acknowledging the challenges posed by COVID-19, the issue of growing insecurity in the country, severe economic hardship, exploitation of the poor and denial of bright future and hope by greedy and few privileged Nigerians, the Catholic Archbishop used the second reading, St. Paul’s Letter to Philippians, to encouraged the people of God to rejoice always.


“Christian joy is independent of all things on earth because it has its source in the continual presence of Christ. The lesson from St. Paul here too is that one can choose to rejoice even in the midst of trials and tribulations,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

he further encouraged those in sad situations to rejoice and keep hope, confident that God is aware of their respective situations and Jesus Christ is in their midst. 

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.