Kukah suspends Catholic masses in Sokoto

Matthew Kukah

Catholic bishop of Sokoto Diocese Matthew Kukah has suspended all masses in Sokoto metropolis in the wake of riots that followed the killing of a student Deborah Samuel for alleged blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad.

Spokesman of the diocese Rev. Fr Christopher Omotosho announced the latest development in a statement on Saturday.

Omotosho confirmed that two parishes under Kukah’s jurisdiction were attacked by rioters. He however cleared the air that Kukah’s residence was not attacked.

“During the protest, groups of youths led by some adults in the background attacked the Holy Family Catholic Cathedral at Bello Way, destroying church glass windows, those of the Bishop Lawton Secretariat were also attacked and a community bus parked within the premises vandalised,” said Omotosho.

“St. Kevin’s Catholic Church Gidan Dere, Eastern By-pass, was also attacked and partly burnt; windows of the new hospital complex under construction, in the same premises were shattered.

“They were promptly dispersed by a team of Mobile policemen before they could do further damage.

“The hoodlums also attacked the Bakhita Centre located along Aliyu Jodi Road and burnt down a bus within the premises.”

Kukah had condemned the killing of Samuel last Thursday, stating that it was a criminal act.

The riot began after Muslim youths started protesting for the release of two suspects who were arrested for allegedly being involved in the killing of the student of Shehu Shagari College of Education.

Omotosho said Kukah commended Governor Aminu Tambuwal “for acting promptly by declaring the 24-hour curfew to stem the protests.”

“All Masses in Sokoto metropolis have been suspended until the curfew is lifted,” the statement added.