As the controversy rages on over the statements credited to Bishop Mathew Kukah, on the state of the nation, the catholic cleric has been given a top Vatican appointment by the Leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, as a member of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Promotion of Human Integral Development.
With this new appointment, Mr. Kukah, the Catholic Archbishop of Sokoto in the northwest of Nigeria, along with his global counterparts in the Dicastery to advise and promote the Pope’s concerns on issues pertaining to justice and peace, human rights, torture, human trafficking, amongst other development issues, a letter from the Vatican’s top brass, dated January 11 said.
Spokesman of the Sokoto Diocese, Christopher Omotosho, a reverend father, said in a statement Monday that Mr. Kukah’s latest appointment, which is “renewable for an initial period of five years,” adds to his “string of national and international engagements within the universal Church.”
The fiery archbishop has been critical of Nigerian government’s handling of critical national issues.
Only Last December, Bishop Kukah – a firm critic of the Buhari administration, lambasted the Nigerian president for his widely perceived institutionalisation of northern hegemony at the expense of national unity in the country.
Mr. Kukah’s Christmas homily did not sit well with a local Muslim group, which urged him to apologise for his “malicious comments” against Islam, or quietly and quickly leave Sokoto.
Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu, however, discountenanced the ultimatum, noting that the cleric had the right to air his opinion albeit ‘insensitive.’