Ignatius Ayau Kaigama
Kaigama studied for the priesthood at St. Augustine’s Seminary in Jos with further study in theology in Rome. He was ordained on 6 June 1981. He attended the Pontifical Gregorian University, earning a doctorate in theology in 1991.
Pope John Paul II appointed him bishop of the newly established Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalingo. He was consecrated as bishop on 23 April 1995 by the Bishop of Yola, Patrick Francis Sheehan OSA, the co-consecrators were Gregory Obinna Ochiagha, Bishop of Orlu, and Athanasius Atule Usuh, Bishop of Makurdi.
In 2000, Kaigama was appointed by Pope John Paul II to succeed Gabriel Gonsum Ganaka as Archbishop of Jos.
Kaigama is currently President of the Nigerian Bishops’ Conference and the also the President of the Episcopal Conference of West African Catholic Bishops. He is also chairman of the Plateau State-convened “Interreligious Committee for Peace”. Together with the late Emir of Wase, Alhaji Haruna Abdullahi, he has been involved in promoting mutual understanding between Christians and Muslims.
After the riots in Jos in January 2010, he calmed the situation and clarified the conflict in the international press. On 25 July 2012, Archbishop Kaigama was appointed a member of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation by Pope Benedict XVI.
In 2014, the Catholic Bishops Conference in Nigeria supported legislation to make participation in a same-sex marriage a crime punishable by 14 years imprisonment. It noted the move as a “courageous act” and a “step in the right direction”. Kaigama argued that the action was “in line with the moral and ethical values of the Nigerian and African cultures”, and blessed President Goodluck Jonathan for not bowing to international pressure: “To protect you and your administration against the conspiracy of the developed world to make our country and continent, the dumping ground for the promotion of immoral practices”.
Kaigama also openly condemned the disproportionate focus on contraception in foreign aid programs. In 2014, Kaigama said: “In the first place, children die in infant mortality, in inter-tribal wars and diseases, but yet you come to say ‘decrease your population and we will give you economic help.’ We want food, we want education, we want good roads, healthcare. We are being given the wrong things and we are being asked to accept, simply because we are poor.