Nigerian Priest Decries Embedded “structures of injustice, imbalance” as Threats to Peace

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The deeply rooted “structures of injustice and imbalance” in Nigeria over the centuries are the primary hindrances to peaceful coexistence among the people of God in the West African nation, a Catholic Priest in the country has said.

In his Wednesday, September 21 goodwill message to the participants of the one-day round table discussion that was convened virtually on the occasion of the 2022 International Day of Peace (IDP), Fr. Anthony Anike said that the structural vices have been entrenched because of the narratives that present them as acceptable.

“Over the centuries, structures of injustice and imbalance have been set and they have dug so deep that they frustrate every effort to change,” Fr. Anike who is the Vicar General of the Missionary Society of St. Paul of Nigeria (MSP) said.

He added, “We know that these structures still exist and have so much power because of the narratives that, for generations, have been built to present them to us in some acceptable ways, especially when they favor us, or our people, or our generation.”

These narratives, the Nigerian Priest said, “have been so cleverly spun that many people who are too preoccupied and engrossed with fighting for the basic needs of life, do not have the time or care to analyze these unhelpful narratives.”


The member of MSP lauded the participants at the one-day virtual event for convening to commemorate the 2022 IDP saying that it is one way of exploring narratives that have kept the oppressive structures in place for centuries.

He advocated for frank, “deep and objective reflections” aimed at unravelling “biased” narratives, adding that the participants’ discussions aim “to develop new narratives that could bring us back to the basics – that all men are born equal and have equal rights to freedom of speech, religion, and other freedoms.”

He underlined the importance of the 2022 IDP virtual event into the future, saying, “I hope these discussions will show us different ways of looking at the challenge of how to achieve peace in our world, beginning from our locality.”

“I hope this meeting will not be just one other meeting where we just proffer ideas and have fun interacting internationally with each other, but we really do not achieve anything that would move the cause for peace forward,” the Vicar General of MSP in Nigeria said.

He went on to say that “sacrifices and compromises”, which are ingredients of change are essential for peace in the Nigerian society, and posed, “Are we ready to make the sacrifices and compromises needed?”

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The Nigerian Catholic Priest said that encounters aimed at dialoguing for peace in the past mostly failed to achieve their mission because of the unwillingness to embrace change, to let go of some attachments, and to make compromises.

“We are not ready or we are afraid of losing power and favor, and privileges; we want to control change or stop change that would rob us of what we believe, to be the truth and what is favoring our people alone,” he said.

In his September 21 message, Fr. Anike said that such encounters for peace fail to bear fruit because of the inability to listen critically to one another especially on matters that require serious discussion.

“The other reason why many of our conferences and meetings that discuss or dialogue on critical issues have not made as much difference as we desire, might be because there is not enough listening in order to hear the other,” he further said

The MSP member explained, “We might listen but not really hear what the other is saying, especially when our minds are filled with philosophies, theologies, and other narratives that have filled our minds from generations of the past.”


He said that today, people can take advantage of past failures, availability of more information, and especially with science, and change the world for the better.

He underscored the need for people to open up to others, be ready to let go of old ideas and ways ‘of doing things, and face what might “have contributed to the pain and the ‘peace-lessness” that the world grapples with today.”

Fr. Anike further emphasized the importance of listening to each other during the conference and said that it will boost the struggle against injustice and foster peaceful coexistence.

“I hope that everyone who participates in this conference would not only listen but also be ready to hear what the other is saying and from there, we could all move forward to continue to build or create new narratives that allow for justice and respect for the basic rights of every individual,” he said.

The United Nations (UN) General Assembly instituted the IDP “as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.”

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This year’s theme for the IDP is, “End racism. Build peace”. On this day, the UN is calling for concerted efforts “towards a world free of racism and racial discrimination. A world where compassion and empathy overcome suspicion and hatred. A world that we can truly be proud of.”

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.