One of Nigeria's most influential prelates has opened up about the spate of clergy kidnappings and murders plaguing the country, the coronavirus, and new US President Joe Biden's move to increase funding for international abortions.
In an interview with Crux, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Abuja said, "It is intriguing that one of Biden's first official acts is to promote the destruction of human lives domestically and in developing nations."
In Biden's first few weeks of office, he issued an executive order rescinding the Mexico City Policy, which bans US aid from supporting NGOs which either provide or promote abortions abroad. There has been talk that he will also repeal the 1976 Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding for abortion except in cases of rape or incest, or when the mother's life is in danger, but which must be approved by Congress.
Last week, Biden's White House also issued a statement promising to codify Roe v Wade – the landmark supreme court case that made abortion legal in the United States.
"This order does not stand to reason; it violates human dignity," Kaigama said, adding, "The President should use his office to prioritise the most vulnerable, including unborn children."
Noting that every Pope since the Second Vatican Council down to Pope Francis have described the deliberate killing of a child before or after birth "as a most grievous violation of God's commandments," Kaigama insisted that life "must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception."
"Abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes," he said, adding that bishops have consistently reiterated "that abortion is a direct attack on life that also wounds the woman and undermines the family and above all, it offends God."
In addition to his comments on Biden, Kaigama also offered a detailed reflection on kidnappings in Nigeria, which he said are mainly rooted in unemployment and political schemes. He criticised what he said is the government's inability to resolve the problem.
He also spoke at length about the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on Nigeria, and on Africa as a whole, urging developed nations to at the very least postpone debt repayment, and called on the international community to ensure that countries unable to afford COVID-19 vaccines still have access.