Cover Interviews

Unjust treatment breeds insecurity – Archbishop Kaigama

*FG yet to take up CBCN’s hospitals offer to help covid-19 patients

Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, His Grace Archbishop Igbatius Kaigama, spoke with select newsmen on national issues, and expressed disappointment at the level of corruption, insecurity, and poor quality education in the country. Senior Reporter, MYKE UZENDU was there and brings part 11 of the excerpts of the interview.

The present administration campaigned vigorously in 2015 to wedge serious war against corruption, but it seems the situation is worse than it was, even within the anti-graft agencies. What should we do about this Your Grace?

I don’t know what else people want us to do. We have been talking about it, preaching what is in the Bible against such, and all that, yet, people listen and they behave as if nothing has been said. We have millions of Nigerians who listen to all these preaching, yet they go about as if corruption is a normal way or life. There is corruption everywhere; primary schools, secondary schools, universities, ministries, all sectors of our life. What else can we do?

If the EFCC, ICPC cannot help us, I don’t know who else. President Buhari promised to fight corruption, then he tells us if you fight corruption, corruption will turn around and fight you. The National Assembly seem helpless on what to do.

We pray that one day, our youths will be sufficiently angry, across religious and ethnic lines, and do something positively that will surprise us about corruption. We need a consensus of values, of ideas, of integrity to say we must not allow all these to continue to happen. I have met severl youth that are so angry, especially at the level of harassment they suffer outside this country and also the level of intimidation from security officials when they arrive this country. We continue to pray that we shall one day have decent people who shall say enough is enough and all these corruption will begin to go down. Something will one day happen, I tell you. Time shall come when our youths will drop all these divisions and say, enough of all these and God will see to all these.

The Catholic Church donated all its hospital facilities to the Federal Government. How many have been accessed and to what use have they been put?

We had a zoom conference with the Vice President, just three, four days ago, and we repeated the same thing to him, that we offered, not a donation, these hospitals and clinics to government, to minimize the problems in the healthcare. We asked them to train our personnel, re-equip where necessary, so they could serve the need of those currently suffering from this corona virus. The offer is still valid, but I am afraid, I am not sure there is any need government has put on the offer. They identified a few facilities and said they will collaborate with us, but so far, nothing has happened.

Kindly react to President Buhari’s visit to Mali to quell crises but react less to the crises in Nigeria?

It is not a bad idea that the President should go to Mali. It is a sign of good international relations to neighbours. Even when you have difficulties at home, it doesn’t stop you from reaching out and lending a helping hand. Even with problem, it is important to lend a helping hand to someone who has problem, being a brothers keeper. I think that is what President Buhari is dojng.

What is needed at home, because I believe the president has enough information. What is needed is positive action. It is a question of something that should be injected to reinvigorate our security apparatus. With all the array of security agencies we have, it is not good that a tiny Boko Haram at the time is giving a tough fight to our Armed Forces. We need to do better in that direction.

Several Catholic schools were taken over and renamed by the government, all over the country. Is it not time for reparation, compensation to be paid to the original owners of those schools?

I also ask, don’t the government have enough resources to build their own that they must “snatch” the ones built by other people, including faith-based organisations? Why must they take it away from others who suffered to build those schools; it was unjust act. As if that is not enough, you take them away and renamed them? It is unjust act; it is a provocation. Justice is the recipe for peace. All these agitations we have all over the country are a result of injustice. When people feel you have unjustly treated them, they will begin to agitate. When you take over and rename, it is unjust. People feel unjustly treated; you come to people’s land where they have been for hundreds of years, you bring other people and set up Emirates to rule them. Naturally those people should feel agitated. There is never a way you can bury such acts of injustice. The fundamental issues are not addressed and these are the things that lead to the series of agitations that we have. Some people are angry that their land have been taken away from them, that people are brought to rule them and the aboriginals are neglected. Give back to people what belongs to them and you see that peace will flow like river. When you impose leaders on people, you cant expect justice. Our government knows what to do and how to halt all these. If we are sincere and real, peace will return to Nigeria.

What innovations are you bringing to the Catholic Archidocese of Abuja?

I am just an ordinary priest. I have been asked to come here and do my best. Since I came, I have held more than 30 meetings with my priests on how to serve our people better, especially with the demanding covid-19. I am going to do my best with the priests I have to serve our people and we bring our ideas and cross-fertilise and we work for the goodwill of the people. I have no blueprint, but shall continue to liaise with my priests to do our best for the people of Abuja.

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