Let’s Worship, Denounce Injustice, Despite “persistent attacks”: Archbishop in Nigeria

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

Despite “persistent attacks on the Catholic Church”, the people of God in Nigeria need to continue gathering for public worship and speaking out against injustice in the West African nation, a Catholic Archbishop in the country has said.

In his Sunday, June 12 homily at St. Augustine’s Parish of the Archdiocese of Abuja, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama made reference to attacks that have targeted Catholics, including the Pentecost Sunday attack, and encouraged Nigerians “to remain steadfast in faith”.

“If these persistent attacks on the Catholic Church by those who kill and believe they are offering an excellent service to God are meant to scare us not to worship again or to speak out in favor of justice, it should be clear that nothing will stop us worshiping God and speaking the truth,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

The Nigerian Catholic Archbishop added, “I am here to encourage you to remain steadfast in faith and to continue to gather like this in worship irrespective of the series of unprovoked attacks and killings we have suffered over the years.”

He expressed optimism that the religious leaders who worship differently in the West African country will unite one-day in unmasking the perpetrators who tap from the “poor action of the government and the relevant security agencies” in their mission to kill. 


“We pray that someday, we may truly become ‘one nation bound in freedom, peace and unity,’ when Christians, Muslims and Traditional religious worshippers will come together to unmask marauders living among us,” Archbishop Kaigama said during the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity.

He highlighted some of the attacks on the Catholic Church, including kidnapping of members of the Clergy and Laity, and regretted the fact that nothing has ever been done to stop the menace.

On the Pentecost Sunday attack on St. Francis Xavier Owo Parish of Ondo Diocese, the Nigerian Archbishop said, “The relevant government authorities may be unable or unwilling to unmask the unknown gunmen who have earned the diabolic distinction of murdering innocent people without qualms, but God knows about it.”

“We, on our part, refuse to retaliate not because we are cowards or we don’t know how to use destructive weapons; but because we see the evil attackers as children of God in need of salvation,” Archbishop Kaigama said during the June 12 Eucharistic celebration in which he conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation to 614 candidates.

He said that he finds it difficult to understand “that without provocation, defenseless people worshiping their God on a Pentecost Sunday, not wielding guns other than the weapon of prayer could be gunned down.”

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“People are no longer able to feel safe in places of worship, at home, on the streets, in the farms, at markets and schools,” the Local Ordinary of Abuja Archdiocese who started his Episcopal Ministry in Nigeria’s Jalingo Diocese in April 1995 said.

He regretted the fact that “all that our leaders care about now is guaranteeing their political future, and oblivious of the rude happenings, they go on to spend incredible amounts in both local and foreign currencies to get elected!”

Making reference to Democracy Day in Nigeria marked on June 12, the 63-year-old Nigerian Archbishop said that there is no need for such a celebration because of the increasing social ills in the West African country.

“We should be joyfully celebrating democracy Day today, 12th June, but how can we when corruption seems to be institutionalized in a manner that it is okay to spend humongous amounts of money to influence voters and still believe that if such people are elected to political power they will provide transparent governance with honest economic policies,” he said.

Archbishop Kaigama posed, “How do we celebrate in the midst of escalating prices of essential commodities, hunger and unemployment? How do we celebrate democracy when yet-to-be-identified gunmen pose such a grievous setback in our march towards harmonious and peaceful co-existence?”


“How do we celebrate when corrupt governance and insecurity threaten the present and future of Nigerians?” the Local Ordinary of Abuja Archdiocese further posed in his Holy Trinity Sunday homily.

He said that the challenges faced by the people of God in Nigeria can be countered through the inspiration of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.

“The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity should inspire us to respect our individuality; to be bonded in love and communion through reciprocal self-giving, holding nothing back,” he said, adding that a major challenge in Africa’s most populous nation is that the “country seems to be driven by ideologies and interests that only favor a given few.”

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.