Nigerians Need “radical positive attitudinal change”, Catholic Archbishop Says

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

The Archbishop of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese has urged the people of God in the West African country to change their attitude in their interactions with others and to stop blaming government officials for every misdeed in the country.

In his Sunday homily at Holy Trinity Parish of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama gave the example of how Nigerians exhibit disorderliness at the country’s airports and said the people rarely obey simple instructions.

“We are good at blaming others, especially leaders in government, forgetting that what each Nigerian needs is radical positive attitudinal change,” Archbishop Kaigama said in his January 23 homily on the Sunday of the word of God.

The Nigerian Archbishop made reference to the abduction and killing of five-year-old Hanifa and said that there is need for Nigerians to uphold humanity and stop blaming the government for everything that happens in the country.

“How can one ever explain that a school teacher abducted and killed five-year old Hanifa, and could not hear the cry for mercy of the angelic looking girl? Where is our humanity? Is the government alone responsible for this monumental deficiency of basic human feelings?” he queried.


The Local Ordinary of Abuja Archdiocese added, “As individuals and as a government, we must do all we can to soothe the pains and burdens of Nigerians.”

He further explained that the pains of citizens of Africa’s most populous nation can be soothed through generous acts, which he said researchers have proven to “lower body-wide inflammation” such as diabetes and depression.

He urged the people of God in the country to continue making sacrifices of not only their time but also their energy and other resources as they have done in the past “without counting the cost for the church and for the poor and the suffering.”

Making reference to the First Reading from the book of Nehemiah, Archbishop Kaigama called upon Nigerians to listen and also to act on the Scriptures, social norms and basic traditional values just like men, women and children in Ezra’s days.

He underscored the need for the people of God to embrace Lectio Divina reading, and to make the word of God the very identity of and central to the Christian life.

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He challenged Christians to treat Bibles just like their mobile phones saying, “If our Bibles were treated like our cell phones, we would be quick to carry them around, safeguard them from being stolen, and flip through them several times every day.”

“Catholics must cultivate the habit of Lectio Divina, ‘Divine Reading’, a practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

He explained, “Those who open their hearts to receive the Word of God draw nourishment and vitality, and the words of their mouths and the meditation of their hearts will be acceptable in the sight of God.”

The Nigerian Archbishop further urged the faithful to use the word of God to foster Christian unity rather than using it to compete, or exhibit superiority complex.

“Let us join hands with other Christians and members of other religions, using our respective scriptures for good rather than to compete, exhibit superiority or favor our side. By this we shall transcend narrow ethnic and religious boundaries,” he said.


Archbishop Kaigama added, “Since January 16 to 23, Christians of the five blocks of the Christian Association of Nigeria in the Federal Capital Territory have gathered every day in a different Church denomination to pray for Christian unity, and to urge Christians to strive to liberate our troubled people by way of peace, unity and safety, and overcoming religious hostility which have very negative social consequences for Nigeria and Nigerians.”

He used St. Paul’s letter to Corinthians to decry what he referred to as “the disposition of an anonymous, indifferent or nomadic Christian.”

To illustrate, the 63-year-old Nigerian Archbishop shared some African proverbs saying, “No matter how many times the teeth bite the tongue they still live together in the same mouth… the eyes don’t see each other, but they see things together, they blink together and cry together.”

Making reference to Sunday’s Gospel Reading from St. Luke, he urged political leaders seeking posts in the country’s 2023 elections to unveil their “divine manifesto” just like Jesus did when he read from the scrolls of Isaiah.

“Those strongly desiring to be President or Governors and Senators in 2023, must urgently make their own this divine manifesto,” Archbishop Kaigama said January 23, and added, “They should realize that two years of pandemic have taken a toll on us; insecurity, poverty, hunger, have traumatized people.”

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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.