One of the fathers of the Church in our African continent who was the Previous president of all the bishops in the West African subregion has demanded the government of Nigeria for the return of this great nation to the Religious Freedom Violators List. This demand serves as a “wake-up” Call to the government of this country. The calls from over two dozen human rights advocates for the U.S Congress to get Nigeria back to the list of religious freedom violators is a “wake up” call for the West African nation that is Africa’s most populous nation, the Catholic Archbishop of the country’s Abuja Archdiocese has said.

In a December 12 letter, the 29 signatories called for the appointment of a special envoy for Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. Speaking to our Correspondent on December 17, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama said that he would not be surprised if Nigeria is returned to the list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC).  “The proposal by some civil rights activists in America calling on the Biden Administration to return Nigeria to the list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) and to blacklist Nigeria as a country with religious intolerance is a call for Nigeria to wake up because everything that happens, we tend to wave it off,” Archbishop Kaigama said. The Nigerian Catholic Archbishop added, “People are killed in their hundreds, in their tens; we just worry for a little while and that is the end.”

“We don’t care to dig into the root to know what is the cause of this. Nobody has ever been arrested or prosecuted publicly so that other people will learn,” he lamented, noting that “since Boko Haram started in 2009 till date, we only hear that they are on top of the situation, but then the damage is done, people are killed and nothing happens.”

“Crime in Nigeria seems to have evolved in a way that it started with Boko Haram, then other terrorists have joined them; we now have kidnappers, bandits, and other forms of organized crime,” Archbishop Kaigama further lamented. He continued, “We have to wake up and that is why the outside world is thinking that the Nigerian Government is doing very little about this.”

“Why should people be missing and it’s not possible to locate them? This goes on again and again, and then people are asked to go and fend for themselves,” the Catholic Archbishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in April 1995 as Bishop of Nigeria’s Jalingo Diocese posed

He decried the laxity on the part of the government and security agencies, saying, “If your family member is missing and you go to the security agents, they will tell you that they can do very little that you should go and settle with the kidnappers. That is not good; our government must be held responsible and if they don’t want to be ridiculed by the international community, they should wake up and do something more seriously.”

“Considering all the killings in Nigeria either by terrorist attacks, considering the people kidnapped from their homes, on the streets, in broad daylight, in the night, and then you hear very little that is been done, I wouldn’t be surprised if the international community blacklisted Nigeria as a country with poor religious tolerance and people who don’t care about human lives,” he said.

For Archbishop Kaigama, “It’s not about religion or about where you belong. It’s about the safety of the human life of Nigerians and the sacredness of life which needs to be respected and this is going on, on and on; so if we want our name not to be dragged into the mud, we have to do something  and we have the capacity as a country to do something about the situation.”

“We have to be honest and sincere because I know funds and resources are available to fight these criminals but unfortunately, they are not being utilized the right way,” the Catholic Archbishop said.

He continued, “We give so much funds and resources to fight a particular crime and the money goes the wrong way and the criminals are said to be on the run. We must look inward to see what we can do and it has to be something urgent.”

“I think we need to cultivate the culture of sincerity; those entrusted with the resources to fight this crime must do so with a single mind because I am not in doubt about the capacity of Nigeria to address this insecurity issue. What has been lacking is the political will to address these killings,” Archbishop Kaigama told our Sister online journal, ACI Africa on December 17.