Nobody has plans to Islamise Nigeria, Onaiyekan tells Christians

Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Onaiyekan [Photo: La Croix International]
Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Onaiyekan [Photo: La Croix International]

The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Onaiyekan, has called on Christians to rise up and Christianise Nigeria instead of complaining that Muslims want to Islamise the nation.

Mr. Onaiyekan, a cardinal, made the call in his homily at a Mass to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation at Our Lady of Perpertual Help Parish, Gwarinpa II on Sunday in Abuja.

“So, let nobody deceive you, I don’t think there is anybody who has plan to Islamise Nigeria, but even if they do, they have every right to do so.

“They have every right to do so provided they also know that I have the right to Christianise the whole of Nigeria.

“The answer is not in complaining and crying; stand up like a man and Christianise Nigeria,’’ the cardinal said.

He said that Christians had the mandate to preach Jesus Christ to everyone without being distracted with material things.

Mr. Onaiyekan urged Christians to defend their faith by preaching the gospel in words and deeds without compromising the message of the Cross.

He said that the disciples of Christ preached the crucified Christ, accepted persecution and that many even died for their faith.

“People complain that Christianity is being persecuted; they are saying that some people want to Islamise the nation. Just know that nobody can’t Islamise you unless you agree to be Islamised.

“For as long as you are not ready to stand up and carry the Cross, you are on the verge of losing your faith; if you don’t want to lose your promotion for Christ sake, you are also not worthy to be a Christian.

“Anybody who presents another programme different from the programme of Jesus Christ on the Cross will lose, you will drop; you will just drop like an overripe apple.”

According to him, Christians cannot achieve the feat by compromising their faith, it can only be achieved by carrying their cross and following Christ.

“You don’t Christianise the nation by standing up and looking for prosperity or material benefits.

“You Christianise a nation, if you are ready to stand up for the truth, preach the gospel, carry the Cross and follow the Lord Jesus.’’

Quoting from the Gospel of Mathew Chapter 10 verses 37 to 42, Mr. Onaiyekan said that anyone who loved his or her mother, father, children, husband more than Christ is not worthy of His kingdom.

He, however, said that the message of Cross is that of salvation, which was gradually being reduced to the message of prosperity, adding that it was natural to face suffering in the world.

The cardinal said that Christianity had survived over 2,000 years and the religion became more established even when the apostles faced persecution and were even killed.

“The apostles went through horrible suffering because of that, the Church took root when everybody thought it was the end of the story of Jesus, who died on the Cross.

“That is the mystery of Christianity, if it is not God’s own doing, Christianity would not have survived,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr. Onaiyekan administered sacrament of confirmation to 63 Catholics in the parish and also laid a foundation of the 2,000-capacity new church.

According to Catholic teaching, the reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace.

For by the sacrament of Confirmation, the baptised are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with special strength of the Holy Spirit.

Hence, they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the Christian faith by words and deeds.

Also, 30 candidates received first Holy Communion at the service.



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  • Jones Johnson


    Archbishop John Onaiyekan needs to see the wood for the trees.
    Boko Haram is not a plaything but an armed Islamist militia to kill dissenters and Islamize Nigeria.
    It is counter-intuitive to say nobody wants to Islamize Nigeria when bullets are flying all over the place.
    Archbishop John Onaiyekan should not lull Christians to sleep. Self-confidence is different from complacency.
    Christians in America, Britain and France face the Islamist threat but they rise up in arms to confront Islamists.
    That’s the Christianity still missing in Nigeria. There’s no Christianity involved in just lying down to be beheaded.

    • Zy

      Don’t rush to type, read before you comment.

      • Dan arewa

        Today is biafra next Christianity, then marginalization after that restructuring follow by state creations, totally confused peoples from the south east

        • 0tile

          Izlamization gets to unsuspecting people through many ways. Today it is bringing in Myiyeti Allah conquerors under the pretext of land grazing routes, Islamic APC wooing corrupt politicians on their side, keeping Nigeria one under a cruel Islamic leader who hates Igbo Christians, knocking off Christian religious education but promoting Islamic syllabus, sharializaing all the states – calculating Islamists from the North.

          • Dan Arewa

            Wawa who is talking to you

    • Dan arewa

      You don’t believe nobody, your elders, your parents, your leaders, your pastors, not even the bible or Jesus Christ himself, you only believe the whispers of Satan who has taken over your soul and fill it with hate. Seek help my friend

    • Rote

      The Bishop is right, its either you rise up to Christianize Nigeria or you forget it.


      I wouldn’t say you are a liar but you are not saying the truth. Stop the hate speech please.

  • Du Covenant

    Can we not just have a society where everyone has the right and freedom to worship whoever he/she chooses?. Leaders in decent societies do not talk like this, we must just learn to live together and respect one another please.

  • Eziokwu

    Well done Cardinal Onaiyekan for this true talk. Instead of preaching Christ, Pentecostal pastors are busy preaching prosperity messages and extorting money from their gullible members. They collect tithes and offerings from their congregants which they use to open universities that majority of their members will be unable to enroll their children in. They open hospitals that are so exhorbitantly priced for people to visit. The General overseers, bishops, pastors are for themselves and selves alone, yet they are complaining that they want to islamise Nigeria. How has these group of pastorpreneurs helped the masses of Nigeria? Are their actions and inactions making Christianity attractive to non-Christians? The answer is NO. This is unlike the Roman Catholic Church, Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, Evangelical Church of West Africa – ECWA (former Sudan Interior Mission) and other orthodox churches that have been involved in missionary works in Nigeria. These churches build schools that are usually free; well equipped hospitals that are made available to all and sundry. I happened to have attended one of the secondary schools run by the Methodist in the 1970s and I want to say that most of my fellow students then who were muslims are today Christians. Nobody compelled them to, but rather they saw Christ, His simplicity and the benevolence of Christians. This is the way it should be.

    Like Cardinal Onaiyekan rightly said, rather that screaming over the roof top about those who want to islamise Nigeria, let Christians work faithfully to Christianise Nigeria.

  • Lyman Hall

    Of COURSE Muslims want to Islamize Nigeria, just as Christians want to Christianize it.

  • 0tile

    The preaching here is too dangerous to be given consideration. Imam Yusuf, Boko Haram, Buhari, Ango Abdullahi, Sultan etc are killing people to izlamize those who resist their coercion. Cardinal Onaiyekan, Bishop Adebayo, Bishop Oyedepo, Bishop Okpaleke etc are only armed with the Holy Bible and words of peace & mercy to convert people. Who do you think will carry the day? Remember Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen were almost 100% Christian countries where the peace loving clergy believed that God would overpower heavily armed invading Muslims for them. Today the prayerful Christians are engendered species in those lands. Today Islam has made bloody conquests in the northern hemisphere of Africa, and once again they are knocking at the doors of Igbo Christians trying desperately to islamize the Christians including alliance with the Yorubas. I am a good Christian man, I cannot go to Minna today wearing the Holy Cross and start preaching Christ and hope to return to my Christian village alive. Certain things do not work.

    • aboki

      KARYA ka ke Otile!
      There millions of your INDGBO RACE living peacefully and comfortable in Northern Nigeria including Minna and practicing their religion without any hindrance or intimidation.
      Their are hundreds of thousands of Churches both ORTHODOX and money making ones spread ALL over Northern Nigeria.
      There are bigger churches in KANO than in your Village in the Eastern. It’s the simple truth.
      Claiming to be a good CHRISTIAN despite your anti Christ attitudes I tend to disagree.
      JESUS ISA AS had never lied or sadistic wishes on any individuals.
      He heals and pray at or on even his enemies.
      It’s not late to repent and seek GOD forgiveness.
      Search your mind thoroughly religion is in heart it’s btw you and your GOD.
      Very soon you would see the results of ill wishes on fellow human being.
      Ka bi DUNIYA a Hankali Sunana ABOKI.


        You right. The number of churches in Weather head and Burma road in Sabon Gari Kano is more than 20.

  • Pure Reasoning

    This foreign religious leaders should keep quite after all, their religion have Christainise and Islamise Nigeria therefore our African religion. So these guys and their religion are usurper of the Black Man and its ancestor.

  • Jon

    12 Northern states have sharia republic with there sharia police and still you claim that no one is forcing sharia down on the whole of a secular Nigeria? What is Boka haram fighting for? Sharia republic of a secular Nigeria. What is the man of God talking about? Hello!


      Have you change your religion? Onaiyekan has said the truth, no one is planning nor trying to do it, it is not possible. There is no compulsion in religion. Nigeria enemies is at it again. Nigeria constitution has quaranteed freedom of religion. why all these noise please?

      • Alhaji

        How about your brothers, Boko Haram? What are killing people for? To Christianize Nigeria?

        • Dan Arewa

          May be they are fighting for something/someone else not to Islamize Nigeria. Their victims are 99% Muslim, most of whom women and children and you can’t islamize a country by killing its muslim population. I also wonder if BH meant to islamize Nigeria, why was Ihejirika financing them. He was named as one of the sponsors of Boho Karam around the time he was meant to fight them to the last man.

      • Alhaji

        How about your brothers, Boko Haram? What are they killing people for? To Christianize Nigeria?

  • emmanuel

    I do not know where Onaikan is coming from. He should be careful of what he calls good.
    The signs are omninuous and must be countered. The Pope should transfer this man to serve table in the Vatican; it is clear he has finished his duty in Nigeria!

    • KBE

      It is playing to the gallery in my opinion. A house divided against itself cannot stand. While others are crying out some are saying there is no cause for alarm. This is a major weakness of the body of Christ. We are not known to speak with one voice and the other people know this. If the CAN has a stand on a national issue, it is normal for all to support that stand instead of openly opposing the umbrella body of Christian. We have taken things for granted for too long and underrated the resolve of the crusaders. Turkey was a Christian nation but through the current attitude of Nigeria Christian the story is different today. I do not subscribe to any form of violence but you must never take the political weapon in the hand of an enemy for granted. Now is the time to wake up and speak against any unfavorable move. We must never say never. The children of this world are wise in their own clique.

  • amazing2012

    Christianity did not start 2,000 years ago, it is ISEU that started 2,000 years and beyond. Christianity it did not start during Jesus. It is Paul who created Christianity and gets it name from pagans in Antioch. However, it is a problem to start today if you are guided by God. The problem is christians are doing everything opposite to the teaching of who they claimed to be associated with. They hate, they cheats, and commits all sins condemn and warn in the Bible. I challange any body that read this text to provide one attitude of christians today that is Biblical, beside converting them to ATM outlets by pastors in the name of tithe (I AM WAITING).
    You guys have for long used Church to preach hate, division, and conflict in Nigeria. You set up every “reason and programs” to make sure the coutnry have divided on religious line. Now you noticed the result of your long time hate programs, you noticed the country is heading toward conflict and you come back to preach non-sense.
    The church have done huge damage to the unity of Nigeria. What is wrong if the whole country is govern by muslims or christians? Does christians have a law? Millions of muslims lived in complete christian societies and millions of christians lived in complete muslim societies. Why is Nigeria different ? Because people like you preach different christianity, preach hate instead of love, preach agaisnt the teaching of the doctrine of what is in the book.
    Those agitating for violence in Nigeria because the “Christian western world” promised them weapons and support are mistaking animals. It is not love, it is hate. If you want to be fools, weapons are ready and free for you to kill yourselves.
    So Daddy, it is alomst late but never late to God, repent, and pray, may be God will listing to us. The hate you orchastrated in the mind of Nigerians is so huge that will consume millions of innocent lives. What will you achieve is over 50 million people lost their lives in a conflict, that originated from your hate programs? You already succeeded in making Fulanis to become awaiting war professionals, you and your foreign masters have creates and finance Boko haram. You equipped them with constant supplies of arms and cash. You have used christians media to spread hate.
    Poeple like you will escape. If there problem, (MAY GOD STOP IT) to keep family at home for 10 days, many Nigerians will die of hunger, in millions. YOU CAN NOT WIN A WAR WITH THOSE WISHING TO DIE AND THOSE WISHING TO LIVE.

  • Peace Forall

    Where we’re you when the rain cloud was
    gathering? Where we’re you when the Constitutional Law and Charia law
    work side by side. Dwarfism can never be cured no matter how sumptuously
    fed. Biafran youths are only asking for a YES or NO vote known as

  • George

    This man is more Northerner than the North.

    He speaks carelessly like Mbaka which I believe the two are from the East. Very shameful.

  • suleiman

    Nobody should take this politician in flying cassock serious. This man speaks with both sides of his mouth and is a Chrislim. He dines and wines with the Sultan and other political stalwarts and is blinded by the enormous wealth he as accumulated from previous government. As CAN president, he betrayed the church and Christians in Nigeria. Se who is talking about wealth and materialism when he thrives on materialism and accumulation of wealth. Such people like Onayekan are a shame to the Christian faith. They betray and crucify Christ over and over for their selfish interest. How much evangelism does this man do other than policking everyday?

  • Stanley

    They kill Christians, they burn churches, they wipe out christian communities, they even now stop bible teaching in schools, they react so badly when a christian rule the country, and you said you saw nothing like Islamization? You should have recommended equal reaction for Christians, not mere preaching work to be fair. If you have nothing to say, say nothing. Where you are heading is closer than where you are coming from – judgement day with God.

    • Oskirin

      mumu ni e…where do all ds tins u raised above happened and it didnt affect d oda religion? u are d enemy of urcef in as much as u tink ds way…

  • Bukola Ajisola

    God bless Baba Onaiyekan for this timely and dispassionate intervention in a narrative that has been dangerously peddled without substance.I’ve had occasions to engage fellow Christians in arguments about this islamisation of a thing and you could perceive politics at the proem of their argument.
    They said Buhari will islamise Nigeria and I find it incongruous because the best and fastest way to islamise Nigeria is to allow Boko Haram to fester.If Buhari had given Boko Haram an inch they would have captured the whole of the north and be riding their gluttonous governors like horse.
    Another lie being peddled is the Islamic agenda of herdsmen.The menace of herdsmen has no religious Nexus.Its basically commercial criminality which should be blamed squarely on all security apparatus just as the Badoo in Ikorodu is allowed to fester and the rivers cultists have been turned into political machine.
    Let Christians begin the christianization of Nigeria today,it is not a violent crusade but a transformational exchange of the miserable template of sin for the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.