Support, Save Suffering Youth from “wind of social disorder”: Nigerian Catholic Archbishop

Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama unveils a banner for the 2022 Lenten Campaign message in Abuja Archdiocese. Credit: Abuja Archdiocese

A Catholic Archbishop in Nigeria has called for the support of young people in the country who he says are struggling with unemployment and other forms of “social disorder”.

In his homily at the pro-Cathedral of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama reflected on the Transfiguration of Jesus and said that young people in the West African nation need to be cushioned against the dangers they face just like Peter proposed to build tents for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah.

“Like Peter in the Gospel reading, let us not only build a tent for God in our hearts but also a tent for the suffering, especially the youth; to avoid their being tossed by the wind of politics, violence and social disorder. Let us all support them to be shining stars even in the midst of severe hardships,” Archbishop Kaigama said in his Sunday, March 13 homily.

The Nigerian Archbishop said that the cruel realities thrown at the youth in the country have made them lose hope and resort to seeking greener pastures abroad.

“There was a joke that some youths even went to the Ukrainian Embassy here in Nigeria to enroll to go to war against Russia as a way of keeping gainfully employed! Even with its attendant dangers, many youths are still prepared to trek the Sahara Desert and cross the Mediterranean Sea! Do you blame them?” he posed.


He said that the objective of the Lenten Campaign this year for the youth under his pastoral care is to demonstrate the Church’s solidarity with them “during turbulent social moments.”

The Local Ordinary of Abuja Archdiocese hinted at the Archdiocese’s intention to build a multi-purpose formation center for the youth and said that the success of the project will benefit the youth through imparting empowerment skills.

“We intend to set up for the youth a multi-purpose formation center that will offer holistic programs of skills acquisition, leadership training/mentoring, remedial studies, and provide opportunities for recreation and other pastoral and spiritual programs,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

He directed that the contributions from the Lenten Campaign and during the entire Lenten Season “be used for youths in and around the Federal Capital Territory and even beyond to rekindle their hope a little.”

Reflecting on the EndSars violence in the country that was caused by police brutality, Archbishop Kaigama said that the youth clearly indicated how disillusioned they were.

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He said that the Church is not responsible for poverty among the youth but plays the role of offering prayers, preaching the word of God to them, giving moral instruction and rendering unpublicized social services.

“Sometimes the youths believe that the Church has all the resources as the government and that is why they ask ‘what is the Church doing about unemployment?’ Instead of taking their concerns to their elected representatives in government they turn to the Church with apprehension, failing to realize that the Church is not the cause of their poverty,” Archbishop Kaigama explained.

The 63-year-old Archbishop lauded the Archdiocese’s Justice, Development and Peace Commission adding that the body envisions “to grow in strength and impact like other faith-based Catholic agencies in Europe and America.”

He expressed hope that the government of Africa's most populous nation will recognize the Church’s initiative to empower the youth and channel grants to the institution so as to do more in hospitals and schools.

“As the Church empathizes with and is close to the youth, we had hoped that the government would recognize this and even empower the Church with grants to do more in schools and hospitals and other social services,” Archbishop Kaigama said March 13.


He faulted Nigerian government agencies for squeezing tax money from Church programs instead of supporting the very same institutions to empower the youth.

Reflecting on president Muhammadu Buhari’s 2020 new year speech following the EndSars protests, Archbishop Kaigama said that the youth are the most valuable natural resource both at home and abroad.

According to the Nigerian Archbishop, president Buhari promised to develop an enabling environment to turn the passions of the youth into ideas that can be supported, groomed and scaled across regions “in close and effective collaboration with religious bodies.”

Speaking on the recently concluded Catholic Bishops’ meeting, which he said drew a lot from Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter, Fratelli Tutti, Archbishop Kaigama underlined the need to pray for peace and unity at all levels to bring about healing.

“We must pray and work for peace and unity at all levels to bring about the much-needed healing from the wounds of the past,” he said, and added, “The doors of honest dialogue need to be reopened at all levels to help us march the common path of nation building.”

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The Nigerian Catholic Archbishop added, “Our positive voices and actions of love, forgiveness, reconciliation and solidarity must be above the prevailing language of violence, discord, parochialism, antagonism and self-centeredness.”

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.