Let’s Collaborate to Address “scourge of insecurity”: Nigerian Archbishop at Installation

Archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji of Nigeria's Owerri Archdiocese. Credit: Owerri Archdiocese

The newly installed Archbishop of Owerri Archdiocese in Nigeria has called upon the government of the West African nation to work together with the Church to cushion the people of God in the country “from the prevailing scourge of violence and insecurity”.

In his Thursday, June 23 address during his installation at Maria Assumpta Cathedral of Owerri Archdiocese, Archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji underlined the need for Church-State partnership, saying that “the church and the state serve the same people.”

“We have to work together to save our people from the prevailing scourge of violence and insecurity that have brought unimaginable grief, trauma and fear to our fellow citizens in the State,” Archbishop Ugorji said.

The Nigerian Archbishop said that peace and development are inseparable and that people are only free to engage in sustainable development when they are free from hunger, poverty and exploitation, among other hindrances.

He said, “In the face of myriads of problems bedeviling our society today, we extend our hands of partnership with the government to work for the development of our people, while keeping in mind that there is an intricate relationship between peace and sustainable development.”


Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Ugorji to be at the helm of Owerri Archdiocese on March 6. The Nigerian Metropolitan See had been vacant following the retirement of Archbishop Anthony John Valentine Obinna who had been the Local Ordinary since his Episcopal Ordination in September 1993.

At the time of his transfer, Archbishop Ugorji had been serving as the Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Umuahia Diocese since his Consecration in July 1990.

The 70-year-old Archbishop will oversee the 2,996 square kilometer Nigerian Archdiocese that has an estimated population of 1,086,393 Catholics, according to 2019 statistics.

In his June 23 inaugural speech following his installation, Archbishop Ugorji cautioned government officials against promoting violence and urged them to partner with the church to promote peace.

“Rather than engage in senseless conflicts that lead to wanton bloodshed, mutual self-destruction and destruction of property, I urge you to put all squabbles, division and rancor behind for the sake of peace and progress in our State,” Archbishop Ugorji said, and emphasized, “Please let us join hands to work for the overall welfare of our people.

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The new Local Ordinary of Owerri Archdiocese who doubles as the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) expressed his gratitude to the people of God in the Ecclesiastical Province of Owerri, adding that their presence denotes solidarity as God’s family.

“I am very humbled by your presence in large numbers for this installation ceremony. By the spirit of brotherhood, sisterhood and solidarity you have shown by your esteemed presence, you demonstrate vividly that the Church is the Family of God without borders,” he said.

Archbishop Ugorji expressed his closeness to the people of God under his care, saying, “Irrespective of our place of origin, status or gender, we are one in Christ through our baptism, which binds and bonds us together as members of one family.”

Archbishop Ugorji further expressed his awareness of the rapid growth of the church in his new Metropolitan See and said that the growth goes hand in hand with the “increasing needs experienced in the areas of initial and ongoing formation of Priests and other Church personnel and their maintenance.”

As the church keeps growing, he said, her responsibility towards the poor and the vulnerable, catering for the sick and aging members of the Clergy in the society keeps increasing, posing a challenge that needs to be addressed. 


“To attend to these problems in a sustainable manner,” Archbishop Iwejuru said, “the Church in the Archdiocese would need to take bold steps towards self-reliance. We shall strive together to achieve this goal.”

Meanwhile, in his last Eucharistic Celebration as Bishop of Umuahia Diocese ahead of his installation as the new Archbishop of Owerri, Archbishop Ugorji urged Christians to abide by the tenets of the golden rule which he said involves being “mindful of how (you) treat fellow human beings.”

“If you want to be treated with dignity, treat others with dignity. If you demand for justice, extend justice to others. If you want to be fairly treated, treat others with fairness. This is the golden tenet of the Bible,” he said in his Tuesday, June 21 homily at the Mater Dei Cathedral of Umuahia Diocese.

He thanked members of the Clergy, women and men Religious, and the Laity in Umuahia Diocese for their “immeasurable support and cooperation during the three decades” of his Episcopal Ministry in the Nigerian Diocese.

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.