The United States Ambassador in Nigeria, Mary Beth-Leonard and the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto met today in Sokoto and discussed on a number of issues bordering on the empowerment of rural women and women’s health.

The meeting took place at the Bakhita Secretariat of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto during a courtesy call on the Bishop by the Ambassador of the United States.

The Ambassador, Mary Beth-Leonard said the American government has been collaborating with a number of groups on women empowerment adding that during her visit to Sokoto, she had visited the Referral centre for Sexually Abused women, situated within the State Specialist Hospital, Sokoto. She also said she met with some other groups with focus on empowering the youth.

Ambassador Beth-Leonard said the American government is doing a lot in Sokoto state through the American Corner, a centre created within the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto.

On his part, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Reverend Matthew Hassan Kukah said from its lean resources, Sokoto Catholic Diocese has intervened many times by bringing relief to indigenous Muslim communities devasted through security challenges.

The Church’s concern he said is the common humanity and not the faith.

He further said that the Church has also empowered especially rural women in Sokoto, Katsina and Kebbi states through the Justice, Peace and Development Commission. He said the Catholic Relief Services also came in through the JDPC with women empowerment programme which benefitted the local communities immensely even though no Catholic Christian was a beneficiary.

Most Reverend Kukah said the Challenge in this part is that the government is not always keen in bringing the Church on board its empowerment programmes despite the Church’s rich experience and expertise in that regard.