“God will return you someday”: Nigerian Catholic Archbishop to IDPs in Abuja

Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama with catecumens at St. Paul’s Pastoral Area in Sauka Wasa, Abuja. Credit: Abuja Archdiocese

The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja in Nigeria has expressed optimism that victims of extremist attacks who fled from Northern Nigeria and are now living in communities served by his Metropolitan See will “someday” enjoy peace and tranquility back in their homeland.

On Sunday, March 19, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama visited St. Paul’s Pastoral Area in Sauka Wasa, Abuja, where he lauded residents for welcoming many people he said had been displaced from Northern Nigeria owing to various kinds of attacks.

“Your pastoral area plays host to many of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) from different parts of northern Nigeria due to the insurgency, terrorism, banditry, and farmer-herder clashes that have forced millions of people out of their homelands in search of safety,” Archbishop Kaigama said in his Sunday homily when he visited Sauka Wasa.

“Some of you have been here as displaced people for up to 10 years because the atmosphere back in your ancestral homes is not safe,” he further said, and added, “Despite the promises of the government to improve your welfare, there is a lot more to be desired.”

The Nigerian Catholic Archbishop continued, “I have come today to pray with you and to encourage you not to give up hope. God will take care of you and will return you someday to enjoy once more the peace and security of your homes, just as He returned those exiled to Babylon back to Jerusalem.”


The Local Ordinary of Abuja Archdiocese has also expressed optimism that the Saturday, March 18 gubernatorial and state assembly elections in Nigeria will produce “leaders after the mind of God.”

“We hope that the gubernatorial and State Houses of Assembly elections held yesterday will produce leaders after the mind of God; leaders with competence and capacity to serve the common good of all Nigerians. Wrong electoral choices, based on manipulation and rigging often produce leaders with very little to offer,” Archbishop Kaigama said March 19.

According to the Nigerian Catholic Archbishop, in restoring sight to the blind beggar in the Gospel of the Forth Sunday of Lent, Jesus desires to heal the people’s social blindness.

“Christ desires to do to us what He did for the blind man. The blind man represents each one of us, blinded by sin. We ask Jesus to open our spiritual eyes to see and love Him in others; we ask Him to heal our social blindness so that we may maintain harmonious relationships,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

He said that many Nigerians were living in abject poverty, and prayed for “sight” for politicians to turn around the situation of the suffering multitudes.

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The Catholic Archbishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in April 1995 as Bishop of Nigeria’s Jalingo Diocese said that for the longest time, Nigerians had been blinded by ethnic and religious politics and were always ending up with bad leaders every election period.

“We could be blind in our choice of leaders, either because they play ethnic or religious politics, or throw money around or even come to power by force or by manipulating their way,” he said.

Archbishop Kaigama however, lauded the youths in Nigeria for choosing to fight for good governance and saying no to corrupt leaders.

“The one thing that has become obvious to many in our country is that many Nigerians, especially the youth, are no longer interested in letting political power rotate among corrupt politicians with no vision or those who bribe their way to power,” the Catholic Archbishop said.

He added, “We hope the system put in place for elections will no longer be compromised. Compromised elections only produce leaders like King Saul, who despite winning many battles had proven unfaithful to God, and the Lord rejected him as king of Israel in favor of David the shepherd boy.”


Meanwhile, Archbishop Kaigama has appealed to the people of God in Nigeria to remain fervent in prayers for God to intervene in the situation of the West African country.

“Let us remain united in prayers as we ask God to give us a clear vision of faith. We ask God to open the eyes of our emerging political leaders to see the values to stand for and the right direction to take. We must never be relenting in our fervent prayers to experience the intervention of God in our national journey,” the 64-year-old Archbishop said.

He added, “Something has started, a quiet revolution, not based on religious bigotry or ethnic parochialism, but on truth and the common good.”

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.