The Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, has welcomed the support of the Italian government to help recover and repatriate illegally deposited Nigerian assets in foreign countries.
President Buhari stated this while receiving the delegation of the Italian government.
Buhari commended the Italian government for demonstrating ‘‘open-mindedness’’ and willingness to cooperate with the country on the issue of repatriation of stolen funds.
The Italian Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Stefano Pontesilli, who accompanied the delegation, conveyed its government’s message to the Nigerian leader:
‘‘We are willing to cooperate with your administration 100 per cent on illicit assets repatriation.’’
The Nigerian president told the delegation that his second term in office would consolidate on the progress recorded in the last four years in the country, while acknowledging the good wishes of the Italian government in the aftermath of the Feb. 23 presidential election.
He also used the occasion to remind developed countries to do the needful on reviving Lake Chad.
Quoting the president:
‘‘Lake Chad is now 10 per cent 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.”
President Buhari thanked the Italian government for its policy of accommodating displaced persons – particularly African refugees. Also, he appreciated the Italian 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.
The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, explained that the president and the delegation which also included Italian investors, discussed a range of bilateral and global issues.
The issues included migration, sustainable development goals, infrastructure development, anti-corruption and the need to strengthen inter-parliamentary relationship between Nigeria and Italy.