Pope Francis has appointed the Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Dr. Matthew Kukah, into the Dicastery for the Promotion of Human Integral Development. The appointment was contained in a letter signed by the Prefect of the Dicastery, His Eminence, Peter Cardinal Turkson, dated December 11, 2020.

The Dicastery is a department of the Roman Curia, the administration of the Holy See through which the Pope directs the Roman Catholic Church. With the appointment, Kukah will join other members of the Dicastery from different regions of the world to advise and promote the Pope’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 – the Pontifical Councils for Justice and Peace, Cor Unum, Pastoral Care of Immigrants and Itinerant People and Health Care of Workers – were merged by the pontiff.

This appointment adds to 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.

Kukah is 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.

Kukah, who was recently castigated by the Federal Government and its apologists for his 2020 Christmas message, comes to the Dicastery on the Promotion of Integral Development with a lot of experience in the areas of human rights, justice and reconciliation.