Readers moved by the news reported in today’s Rally for Nigeria may want to read the Zenit interview with the Catholic archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Kaigama, Co-existence Turned Sour. At one point he explains that despite the persecution, many indigenous Christians are not leaving the north, and offers a cheering (and challenging) story about one group:
in Kano, you have the Maguzawa ethnic group. They are Hausas and normally everybody would expect a Hausa man to be a Muslim. They are not. They are adherents to the traditional religion and when they are not adherents of the traditional religion they are Catholics, Anglicans or whatever. So they are there. They don’t migrate.
The only problem is that they suffer a lot because of their Christian identity and Christian faith. They are denied education. They are denied government employment of the highest ladders; they are employed as night watchmen, cleaners or things like that but never higher than that. And this is what they suffer for being Christians. And the Church has come helping in a very decisive manner by empowering these people, by starting primary schools, again building bush chapels in order to bring them together to bring awareness, and enlighten them and get them going.
And it is working. Now, I can tell you that there are five or more people from those ethnic groups that have become priests and they are working very well. This is to tell you how far we have come and that even though the Catholic Church has been persecuted there are people who live there and still are ready to sacrifice everything in order to proclaim their Christian faith and identity.