- Italy ready to give Nigeria 100% in helping it repatriate looted funds.
- Buhari says his second term would consolidate on the progress recorded in the last four years.
President Muhammadu Buhari has welcomed the support of the Italian government to help recover and repatriate illegally deposited Nigerian assets in foreign countries.
According to a statement released by the presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, President Buhari stated this when he hosted a delegation from the Italian Parliament led by Senator Vito Petrocelli, Chairman Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs at State House on Monday.
According to Shehui, the Italian Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Stefano Pontesilli, who accompanied the delegation, conveyed the message of the Italian Government had told the president expressing the country’s readiness to cooperate with the ruling government 100 per cent on illicit assets repatriation.
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In his response, President Buhari commended the Italian government for demonstrating ‘‘open-mindedness’’ and willingness to cooperate with Nigeria on the issue of repatriation of stolen funds.
While acknowledging the good wishes of the Italian government in the aftermath of the February 23 presidential election, President Buhari told the delegation that his second term in office would consolidate on the progress recorded in the last four years in the country.
He also used the occasion to remind developed countries to do the needful on reviving Lake Chad.
‘‘Lake Chad is now 10 percent of what it used to be. At least 30 million people around it benefit from fishing, farming and animal husbandry.
‘‘The drying up of Lake Chad has forced some people to defy the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean in their bid to get to Europe,’’ he said.
While thanking the Italian government for its policy of accommodating displaced persons, particularly African refugees, the President appreciated the delegation for emphasizing the cordial relationship between Nigeria and Italy and the need to establish a ‘‘bilateral committee on friendship’’ that would identify areas of cooperation and work collectively.
Speaking earlier, Senator Petrocelli told President Buhari that the delegation, which included Senator Tony Chike Iwobi, Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, a Nigerian and first African to be elected into the Italian Parliament, was in the country to attend to the June 12 Democracy Day celebrations.
He also congratulated the Nigerian leader on his re-election.
The President and the delegation which also included Italian investors discussed a range of bilateral and global issues including migration, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), infrastructure development, anti-corruption and the need to strengthen the inter-parliamentary relationship between Nigeria and Italy.