By Fr Christopher Omotosho
The Holy Father Pope Francis has appointed His Lordship, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, Bishop of the Diocese of Sokoto as a Member of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Human Integral Development. The appointment was contained in a letter to Bishop Kukah dated 11th December, 2020, and signed by His Eminence, Peter Cardinal Turkson, the Prefect of the Dicastery.
By this appointment, Bishop Kukah will join other members of the Dicastery drawn from different regions of the world to advise and promote the holy Father’s concerns on issues of justice and peace, human rights, torture, human trafficking, care of creation and other issues related to the promotion of human dignity and development. The appointment, which is renewable is for an initial period of five years. The Council will be formally inaugurated on a later date.
The Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development* was created on January 1, 2017, when four Dicasteries, namely, *the Pontifical Councils for Justice and Peace, Cor Unum, Pastoral Care of Immigrants and Itinerant People and Health Care of Workers*, were all merged by the Holy Father.
This appointment adds to Bishop Kukah’s string of national and international engagements within the universal Church. He was first appointed a *Consultor* and later a *Member of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, Vatican City* and served under three Popes. He is currently, *Chairman, Dialogue Committees of both the *Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA) and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN).* He was a member of the official Delegation of the Holy See that met with the Emir of Qatar when that country opened diplomatic relations with the Holy See in 2002. In 2016, he was nominated by the Vatican to represent Africa on the *Advisory Board of the Vienna based, King Abdulazeez International Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue, KAIICID*. KAIICID is the fruit of the collaboration between the governments of Saudi Arabia, Austria and the Holy See for the promotion of worldwide Dialogue between world religions. Bishop Kukah comes to the *Dicastery on the Promotion of Integral Development* with a lot of experience in the areas of human rights, justice and reconciliation.
Rev. Fr Christopher A. Omotosho
is the Director, Social Communications
Catholic Diocese of Sokoto