Tens of Thousands of Dollars Spent in Rescuing Pastoral Agents in Nigerian Diocese: Bishop

Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto Diocese in Nigeria. Credit: CTV Nigeria

Insecurity is impoverishing the Church in Nigeria, the Catholic Bishop of Nigeria’s Sokoto Diocese has said, noting that in the northern part of the country alone, over 30 million naira (US$38,100) has been spent to rescue pastoral agents.

Most of this money has been spent to rescue priests, seminarians and other pastoral caregivers who were kidnapped by various militia groups in the region, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah said in a Tuesday, October 31 interview with ACI Africa.

“Many things have happened to us in Sokoto. We have had our churches burnt down, the killing of Deborah Emmanuel, our cathedral was almost burnt down, and my Priests were almost killed,” Bishop Kukah said, and added, “I have lost a seminarian, I’ve lost a Priest, we have spent over 30 million naira which we don't have to rescue our pastoral agents from kidnappers.”

The vocal Nigerian Catholic Bishop who is also known for good governance advocacy lamented the lack of support to cope with the situation in the embattled region, saying, “I cannot remember anybody from some part of Nigeria calling me to say Bishop we heard what has happened to you. What can we do, is there any way we can help, are you safe?”

“We are all part of one body, when one part hurts, the rest of the body hurts, but we in northern Nigeria have the feeling that we are hurting alone,” the 71-year-old Bishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in September 2011 as the Local Ordinary of Sokoto said.


He added, “The most painful thing for me as a Christian, and I speak for all the Christians who are living in northern Nigeria, with all the challenges that we face, we find very little interest from our Christian brothers who are living in comfort, and luxury outside northern Nigeria.”

“Their inability to appreciate the urgency of the gospel and to express the keyword like solidarity,” Bishop Kukah said.

Nigeria has been witnessing a surge in violence orchestrated by gangs, whose members carry out indiscriminate attacks, kidnapping for ransom, and in some cases, killing.

The West African nation has also been experiencing the Boko Haram insurgency since 2009, a group that allegedly aims at turning Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, into an Islamic country.

Abah Anthony John is a Nigerian Journalist with great enthusiasm and interest for Catholic Church Communication and Media Apostolate. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from Benue State University, Makurdi, Benue State Nigeria. He has vast experience in Print,  Electronic and Multi-Media Production.