Nigeria – Archbishop Kaigama talks

Extracts from a talk by Archbishop Kaigama The Archbishop comes from Jos, in Nigeria, and he was speaking at an event organised by Aid to the Church in Need.

Violence against Christians Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama spoke about the violence and attacks that his people have suffered in Nigeria, with hundreds losing their lives at the hands of extremist group Boko Haram who have targeted packed churches for bombings.   “Boko Haram, has introduced a new element of violence, of hatred, of destuction, of killing” he said.

The faith of Christians But there is hope, in the shape of the faith of Christians who, despite their fears of attacks, continue to go to Mass. “The Gospel today encourages us to witness to Christ without shame or fear.” Archbishop Kaigama explained that this was precisely what is happening in Nigeria – faithful witnessing to Christ in the face of extremist attacks that have cost many their lives. But, the archbishop added, “in Nigeria, Syria, and other countries where Christians are persecuted, we are not forsaken… You stand by us.”

Christians and Muslims are not at war Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama said he was keen to dispel the impression that Christians and Muslims in Nigeria are at war. The bishop said there are many inter-faith initiatives aimed at nurturing greater understanding. He described one project where young Muslims and Christians spent up to two years living side by side, and are now going out into their communities to foster peace. Muslims and Christians are coming together to try to take action to bring peace. He added that Nigeria needs the help of the international community.

Thanks for the support of Aid to the Church in Need “The beauty of the Catholic Church is that the Holy Eucharist bonds us together very easily,” Archbishop Kaigama told the congregation,  “In the Eucharist, we feel we are truly one body.” The Bishop thanked supporters of ACN for their solidarity with his suffering faithful, and for the support given to iniatives in Nigeria.