“No amount of persecution will push Christianity backward”: Catholic Bishop in Nigeria

Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Nigeria's Sokoto Diocese. Credit: Sokoto Diocese

The Catholic Bishop of Nigeria’s Sokoto Diocese has expressed confidence in the growth and spread of Christianity in the West African nation amid multiple cases of persecution of Christians.

Speaking at the commissioning of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Guest House in Sokoto State Saturday, June 25, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah made reference to recent series of attacks targeting Christian worshippers.

“No amount of persecution will push Christianity backward rather forward,” Bishop Kukah said, and urged the people of God in the West African nation “to read what Christians went through in the Roman Empire. God will use our powerlessness to institutionalize his power.”

The Nigerian Catholic Bishop regretted the fact that religion matters in the politics of the West African country. He said, “It is only in Nigeria that religion matters in politics, hence, we have seen misuses of power in the name of religion.”

“Inefficiency is another word for corruption. Nigeria is one funny country where you can do whatever you like and nothing happens,” the Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Sokoto Diocese said, and added, “You hear people stealing billions and it ends like that.”


He cautioned Christians against “aggressiveness” in amassing wealth in unorthodox means saying, “The Kingdom of God is not built on material blocks, hence we must be a little restrained in the aggressiveness with which we amass materials if they are of evil roots.”

Reflecting on the importance of the CAN Guest House he was commissioning in Sokoto State, Bishop Kukah urged Christians in the Nigerian State “to note that despite owning the place, it is to serve all individuals irrespective of religion.”

The Catholic Bishop who has been at the helm of Sokoto Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in September 2011 advocated for “acceptable guidelines” in operating the Guest House. He said, “All that matters is that there should be acceptable guidelines, protocols and operational modules that conform with sanity in place.”

Also speaking at the June 25 event, the Chairman of CAN in Sokoto State, Fr. Nuhu Iliya, said the newly commissioned CAN Guest House does not belong to any individual but rather to all Christians.

Fr. Iliya appealed to Christians in Sokoto and all over Nigeria to be “more united, chant a common front and work towards having a State CAN worship center that doesn’t belong to any denomination but all Christians.”

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Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.