Criminal Elements Threatening Survival of Private Universities: Archbishop in Nigeria

Credit: Archdiocese of Abuja/Facebook

Insecurity in Nigeria, which is characterized by attacks and other criminal activities, threatens the survival of private universities in the West African nation, a Catholic Archbishop in the country said.

In his message on the 10th convocation ceremony of Veritas University in his Metropolitan See of Abuja, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama lauded the management of the university for weathering the storms amid a deteriorating security situation in the country.

“The attacks by bandits and criminal elements on the educational sector do not just affect the safety of students and staff in schools; they also directly or indirectly affect the survival of private universities,” Archbishop Kaigama said in his address.

The Local Ordinary of Abuja Archdiocese who doubles as the Chancellor of Veritas University called upon Muhammadu Buhari-led government to improve security “in and around university campuses” so as to ensure their survival.

“I wish to use this medium to call on the government to take drastic steps to improve on the security and safety of lives and properties in and around university campuses across Nigeria in order to ensure their continued survival,” the Nigerian Archbishop said in a report that was shared on Thursday, February 3.


Archbishop Kaigama further thanked the management of the Catholic University for the measures it has put across to ensure the security of students and properties. He also expressed his understanding that more resources are being diverted on security at the expense of development.

“I know for a fact that a lot of resources which ordinarily should go to capital projects and other costs for the development and running of the campus have had to be diverted to ensure the presence of adequate security personnel on campus,” he said, and added, “It has not been easy but to the glory of God, Veritas University continues to survive well.”

Acknowledging multidimensional challenges private universities face in the current world, with security of students and staff being the number one concern, Archbishop Kaigama said that Veritas University will continue setting “the standard for academic excellence integrated with sound moral values.”

He acknowledged the contribution of those who continue to support the Catholic University both financially and morally to ensure its existence.

The 63-year-old Catholic Archbishop mentioned the names of those on the forefront in ensuring the wellbeing of the university, including his immediate predecessor in Abuja Archdiocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, and assured them of God’s rewards for their positive contribution towards the development of the university.

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Archbishop Kaigama who has been at the helm of Abuja Archdiocese since November 2019 urged the graduands to face the world and succeed by chasing their dreams and leading as good examples to others in the society.

“I congratulate you all on your accomplishment. Just like every other set of students who graduated from Veritas, you too are a special group. I implore you all to go out into the world and succeed,” he said, and added, “Chase your dreams and become successful in everything you aspire to. Always be a good example to others.”

He continued, “Let the academic and moral instructions you have received at Veritas University be your operational tools as you continue in your respective journeys in this race of life.”

Making reference to the University’s motto, “Seeking the Truth,” Archbishop Kaigama challenged the graduands to work towards building their reputation wherever they will be after graduation through always speaking and standing for the truth.

“As you are awarded your degrees today, I pray that the Almighty Lord shall continue to crown your lives with good health of body, mind and spirit,” the Nigerian Archbishop said during the January 29 event.


Veritas University was founded by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) through a resolution that was made at a March 2002 meeting in the Archdiocese of Abuja.

The institution of higher learning was conceived by the Catholic Bishops’ quest for a University that would provide high quality tertiary education according to the noble tradition of the Catholic Church.

The University emphasizes strong moral values, self-reliance and the development of the students’ entrepreneurial capabilities for the social and economic benefit of the graduates and the Nigerian society.

The Catholic institution is an appropriate response to Pope John Paul II’s call for Catholic Universities to be instruments for the educational advancement of the people of God expressed in his Encyclical Letter, Ex Corde Ecclesiae No. 30.