BOOK LAUNCH: “Witness to Justice: An Insider’s Account of Nigeria’s Truth Commission” by Father Matthew Kukah
FRIDAY 06 MAY 2011 – 6PM (for 6:30 start) at the Africa Centre, 38 King Street, London WC2E 8JT
The Africa Centre welcomes Father Matthew Kukah to present his latest book, “Witness to Justice: An insider’s Account of Nigeria’s Truth Commission” and to comment on the recently concluded Nigerian elections.
In conversation with award-winning journalist Tolu Ogunlesi, Father Kukah will talk about his timely new book, which takes an incisive look at the systematic devaluation of human life that took place in Nigeria during the years of military rule, along with the culture of impunity that emerged over that period.
Witness to Justice is a personal account of the author’s time on the ‘The Judicial Commission for the Investigation of Human Rights Violations’ to which he was appointed by President Obasanjo in June 1999.
The commission’s mandate was to establish the causes, nature, and extent of human rights violations – in particular the assassinations and attempted killings – between January 15, 1966 and May 28, 1999; identify perpetrators (individuals or institutions); determine the role of the state in the violations; and to recommend means to pursue justice and prevent future abuses.
Father Kukah will also share his views on Nigeria’s last election season, which barring the post-Presidential election violence in the northern states and some reports of rigging and other forms of malpractices, has been widely credited with bringing a vast improvement on previous elections in Nigeria.
Copies of Father Kukah’s new book, Witness to Justice, published by Ibadan-based publishers BookCraft, will be on sale on the day.
About Father Matthew Kukah:
Father Kukah was born in 1952, and ordained to the priesthood on 19 December 1976. He is Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Kaduna and a Parish Priest at St Andrew’ s Catholic Church, Kakuri, Kaduna, both since 2004.
Along with his work on the Truth Commission, Father Kukah has served on the Electoral Reform Committee, the Political Reform Committee, and has been the Chairman of the committee overseeing reconciliations between Shell and Nigeria’s Ogoni community.
Dr Kukah is also a rigorous scholar. He has degrees from the University of Ibadan (Bachelor of Divinity/Diploma in Religious Studies, 1976), University of Bradford, UK (MA Peace Studies, 1981), London University (PhD, 1990), and the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (MA Public Policy, 2004). Additionally, he was a Senior Rhodes Fellow at Oxford University from 2001 to 2003.
Father Kukah is a prolific writer and commentator on political, social and religious issues. Previous books, published to critical acclaim, include ‘Religion and Politics in Northern Nigeria since Independence’ (Spectrum, 1994), and ‘Democracy and Civil Society in Nigeria’ (Spectrum, 2002). ]
About Tolu Ogunlesi:
Tolu Ogunlesi is a journalist, poet, fiction writer and cultural commentator. In 2009 he won the Arts & Culture Award at the CNN African Journalist of the Year Awards. He’s currently Features Editor and weekly columnist with the Nigerian newspaper, NEXT, while also completing a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.
ADDRESS: The Africa Centre, 38 King Street, London WC2E 8JT
Please arrive at 6PM for a 6:30PM start
FREE ADMISSION – All welcome