Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, has expressed concern that despite significant rise in religious activities, by Christians and Muslims, corruption and other related social vices have continued to rise in Nigeria.
Kaigama, who stated this in a homily he delivered during the inauguration of Catholic Action in Abuja Archdiocese, said corruption had assumed a new level of digital proficiency and cuts across all levels of political governance, involving the poor, rich, young, old, villagers, urban dwellers, men, women and even children in primary schools.
The cleric, however, asked Nigerians to focus on things that strengthen the unity of the country and not its weaknesses.
“At the 60th independence anniversary, Nigerians must count their blessings instead of lamenting about their misfortunes. Among the countries of Africa, Nigeria has the biggest population. It has a rich ethnic diversity, fertile land, abundant human and natural resources, and many brilliant minds. We have hardworking and resilient people, who, even when things appear so gloomy and life seems frustrating, still smile and say, ‘we’re managing’ with incredible optimism.
“Even with poor social infrastructure and unavoidable poverty, Nigerians still queue for elections under the sun and the rain to vote, sometimes not knowing if votes would count or if the promises made by politicians are really genuine. Youths are still groaning under the yoke of unemployment, thus forcing them to take refuge in cultism, drugs and violence. That we continue to see brothers killing brothers and celebrating it as an ‘achievement’ makes my heart to bleed.
“Nigerians, obviously, have a lot to worry about. We worry about the irrational ethnic,religious distrust leading to sacrilegious taking of human lives and people being displaced from their ancestral lands. Politically, all seems to be about survival of the fittest. Money has become a determining factor for many things. Merit hardly counts. Opportunity for job or admission, institutions or recruitment into a security agency is largely based on whom one knows or because of one’s ethnic or religious identity.
“Voters are enticed with money by candidates or their godfathers or godmother during elections. Many young people complain that if interviews for employment or recruitment are advertised, it is a mere formality because the jobs or positions would have already been assigned in advance to influential public officials or the highest bidders.
“Howbeit, as God did not forsake Job in his dark moments, so will He not forsake Nigeria. Since Ebola, Polio, Malaria, Lassa fever, HIV, etc have not defeated us, so will the coronavirus pandemic not frustrate our progress,” he said.