Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – The Holy Father Benedict XVI on June 10, 2011 accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Diocese of Sokoto (Nigeria), presented by His Excellency Mgr. J. Kevin Aje, in accordance with canon 401 § 1 of the Code of Canon Law. The Holy Father appointed Bishop of Sokoto (Nigeria), Rev. Monsignor Matthew Hassan Kukah, Vicar General in the Archdiocese of Kaduna.
Rev. Monsignor Matthew Hassan Kukah was born on August 31, 1952 in Kulu, Zango, in the Diocese of Kafanchan. After his elementary education, he went to St. Joseph Minor Seminary. He completed his studies in Philosophy and Theology at St. Augustine Major Seminary in Jos (1970-1976). He was ordained a priest on 19 December 1976 for the Archdiocese of Kaduna.
After ordination he held the following offices and carried out further studies: 1977-1978: assistant Priest in Kaduna; 1978-1979: Professor and Head of the students at St. Augustine Seminary, Jos; 1980-1981: Master in Peace Studies at the University of Bradford, England; 1981-1982: Rector of the Minor Seminary in Zaria; 1982-1986: Special Assistant to Cardinal Dominic Ekandem, in Abuja; 1987-1990: Doctorate (Ph.D.) at the University of London, England; 1990-1993: Under- General Secretary of the Episcopal Conference, 1994-2000: General Secretary of the Episcopal Conference; 1999-2001: Member of the Investigation Commission of Human Rights Violations of the Federal Government in Nigeria; 1999-2006: Consultant to the Pontifical Council for the Inter-religious Dialogue, Vatican; 2001-2003: Senior Rhodes Fellow at Oxford University, San Antonio College; 2003-2004: Master in Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, USA.
Since 2004, he has been Vicar general of the Archdiocese of Kaduna.
In addition, since 2004, he has been parish priest at St. Andrew’s parish, Kakuri, Kaduna; from February to July 2005 he was secretary of the National Political Reform Conference of the Federal Government of Nigeria; since 2005: Chairman of the Ogoni-Shell Reconciliation of the Federal Government of Nigeria . From 2007 to 2009 he was also member of the Committee for the electoral reform in the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The Diocese of Sokoto, built in 1964 and a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Kaduna, covers a vast territory of 109,507kmq, with 14,133,000 inhabitants, of whom about 44,366 are Catholics. There are 17 parishes, 32 diocesan priests and 7 religious priests, 7 religious brothers and 28 religious sisters. There are 39 major seminarians. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 10/06/2011)