Resource Administrators in Nigeria Make “more difficult” Church Ministry: Archbishop

Credit: Abuja Archdiocese

Persons at the helm of national resources in Nigeria are not helping the ministry of the Catholic Church among the people of God in the West African nation, the Archbishop of the country’s Abuja Archdiocese has said.

In his homily at the opening Mass of the first 2023 Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama said the Catholic Church’s initiatives in offering education, health, and humanitarian services is not subsidized by the Nigerian government “as is done elsewhere”.

“Our work as Priests today is made more difficult by the administrators of Nigeria’s resources as many helpless people finding it hard to reach those in political authority believe that the Church can provide the material help they need,” Archbishop Kaigama said during the February 12 event.

He said that he found it regrettable that “many don’t know that even though the Church has been a voice of the voiceless, offering educational, medical, and other social services for decades, she receives no grants from the Federal Government as is done elsewhere.”

In the words of St. John Chrysostom, the Nigerian Catholic Archbishop said that to ignore the helpless is a grievous social sin that the Church cannot take for granted.


“When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice,” the 64-year-old Archbishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in April 1995 as Bishop of Nigeria’s Jalingo Diocese said.

He said that the theme of the latest CBCN Plenary Assembly, which is “Citizens’ participation in good governance in Nigeria”, is a reflection of the “Bishops’ sensitivity to the great desire of the majority out there to shape the political future of this country.”

Making reference to the injustices happening in Africa’s most populous nation, Archbishop Kaigama said that both the Consecrated and the Laity need to draw inspiration from Pope Francis’ recent trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Ecumenical visit to South Sudan and keep speaking against social injustices.

“Religious leaders cannot remain neutral before the pain caused by acts of injustice,” the Local Ordinary of Abuja Archdiocese said, adding, “We Bishops have been unambiguous in condemning the abuse of power and plundering of our rich human and natural resources.”

While the Church remains non-partisan, he said, she “cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice.”

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He said that he found it regrettable that corruption is still dominant in Nigeria, especially in recruitment to public offices. He said, “It is very sad that people are forced to bribe in almost everything, such as to win a contract, to get justice, and to get budgets approved.”

The Nigerian Catholic Archbishop went on to highlight some of the challenges the West African nation is facing, including insecurity, high fuel cost, and the redesigning of the Naira, and said that the solution lies in choosing value-based leaders during the general elections slated for February 25.

“Are we simply, out of sentiments going to make choices that would diminish or ignore our own good and the good of others and our country?” he posed, making reference to the first reading for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, from the book of Ecclesiasticus.

In his homily at opening of the CBCN Plenary Assembly that took place at St. Gabriel’s Chapel of Abuja Archdiocese, Archbishop Kaigama also cautioned politicians and all Nigerians against hate speech and offensive statements.

He said such utterances aim to humiliate, to look down on others and wound their dignity, describing them as words of rejection, resentment, hate, or revenge.


“We must make well-informed electoral choices; not to be given to selfish sentiments and political manipulations as the crowds who chose the criminal Barabbas to be released and rather have Jesus crucified (cf. Mt. 27:17-22),” he said.

Archbishop Kaigama said that their Plenary Assembly that is taking place shortly before Nigeria’s general elections provide an opportunity to pray together for peaceful, free, and fair polls.

“I commend the patriotic spirit demonstrated by the Catholic Bishops, by bringing forward our statutory meeting from the first Sunday of Lent to now, to allow us to get back to be with our people as they engage in the sensitive and very important exercise of choosing new political leaders,” he said.

The Catholic Church leader urged the electorate in Nigerian to use the opportunity to elect leaders who know and understand their challenges, highlighting qualities such as the ability to transcend narrow religious and ethnic boundaries; selfless leaders ready to work for the common good of Nigerians, and with the ability to lift them from the “condition of strangulating poverty and frustration to better levels.”

“We pray God to bless us with political leaders of integrity and the fear of God,” Archbishop Kaigama implored, adding, “The next president needs a great measure of God’s grace as he swears an oath on May 29th, 2023, knowing that Nigeria is not poor, but it has poverty of management.”

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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.