The Catholic Church and Human Development in the Catholic Diocese of Otukpo.


Human development is one of the Catholic post Vatican II vision  in  modern times. Co-incidentally, traditional Idoma society epitomized this vision in the paradigm of Inyilowo.

Unfortunately owing to their negative  attitudes  to traditional Idoma society, the early missionaries did not reckon with  the entrenched influence of Inyilowo figure in meaningful talk of  human  development.

The thesis is an effort in integrating the rich meanings of traditional Inyilowo into the central Christian vision of Christ as the new Inyilowo of Idoma, for proper inculturation of Catholic human development in the area.

Data for this thesis are sourced from primary and secondary sources. Primary sources include oral interviews from randomly selected individuals in (six) selected circumscriptions of the Diocese, observations and casual discussions with experienced people within and outside the Diocese.

Secondary sources consist in consulting library and archival materials, books and journal’s articles, newspaper publications and magazine articles. Data are gained and presented through descriptive method.

The over all findings of this thesis are that the missionaries bequeathed to us a distorted image of Christ.

But the Catholic Church in this diocese can, through the inception of this new programme on human development carry the masses along on a positive attitude to their traditional culture  using Christ as the Inyilowo of the people.

Secondly, both the elite and educated illiterates of Idoma avidly desire an integration of the best in their traditional culture with the current programme of the Catholic Church in their area.


Background Of Study

There is no doubt that the rise and spread of the socialist movement has largely contributed, directly or indirectly, to the retrieval and sharpening of the social consciousness in Christianity in general and in the Roman Catholic Church in particular.

Papal Encyclicals -Rerum Novarum (1990), Centesimus Annus(1989), Redemptoris Missio(1990), Evangelii Nuntiandi(1975),  Populorum  Progressio(1990), Ad Gentes(1965) to name some important ones as well as Vatican II’s Gaudium et Spes(1965) have been quite instructive in this regard.

Theological currents include some of the indications and fruits of this heightened sense of social responsibility.

The social consciousness belongs to the very essence of Christianity since the salvation it proclaims affects not only the individual but also the whole human society, indeed, the whole universe itself, in its sociological, economic and political dimensions.

Consequent upon this, the 1971 Synod of Bishops says that “Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel, or, in other words, of the Church’s mission for the redemption of the human race and its  liberation from every oppressive situation.”

The Triune God is a God in mission, who, acting through his Church reveals his universal plan for the world- with the intention that all of creation be freed from its slavery to corruption and to obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom. 8:21).

Hence, the Church, established by God in order to take the world into her, is in extension “a church-in-mission”.


Aayongo, T. (2009). The true faith our faith: pope benedict XVI’s brilliant Reflections on the great apostolic. Makurdi: St. Paul, act of God publication.

Adeyi, J. (2003).     The challenge of world peaceand religion: a Nigerian Response to the Armsterdam call. Otukpo: Eagle  press.

Adodo, A. (2004).  Nature power: a Christian approach to herbal medicineEdo State.

Andrew, A.(1979). Pontificia Commisone Per Le Communicazioni Sociali.Roma.Armstrong, “The Idoma kings, A Typescript.

Anyika, [ed](2005). African humanity and nation building Nsukka:Afro – ordis Publications Co. Ltd

Apochi, M. (1999). Landmarks of educational debelopment in Idoma land Otukpo: Catholic star guide (Inyilowo) apostolate.

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