The Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Embassy of Holy See Vatican, Archbishop Antonio Fillpazzi, has pledged Vatican’s support for the anti-corruption crusade and development of education sector in Nigeria.
‘Apostolic Nuncio’ is the term used for the Pope’s direct representatives to countries.
Fillpazzi said this on Thursday in Abuja when he paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.
He said that Pope Francis was interested in assisting the country to address its social economic problem and the challenge of irregular migrants to Europe.
“In the past and in the present, the Catholic has been part of development in education and social economic development and we wish to continue.
“There is no intention to withdraw in this commitment because it is part of our faith and our religion.
“As it is indicated by the president and the diplomatic community, I think that the Catholic Church can do a lot, especially in addressing the problem which sometimes comes from lack of education and information.
“The church will be preaching the gospel and also do orientation to the society, to be an example and solution to the problem of corruption.
“Pope Francis is interested in what corruption is and how to address the challenge,” he said
According to him, another area of interest for Pope Francis is addressing the problem of immigrants from Africa to Europe in a very daring situation which is the biggest problem of the UN.
He pledged to contribute to the development and enhance the progress of Nigeria as well as making meaningful impact in the lives of Nigerians before the end of his official assignment.
Earlier Onyeama had commended and solicited for the continue support of the Vatican for Nigeria.
“We appreciate the good work that the Vatican is carrying out in various fields in Nigeria, especially in education and social economic and religious, so we look very much forward for you to continue.
“Though, we should not rely on Vatican to solve our challenge but we certainly look forward to increasing cooperation from the Vatican,” he said.
Onyeama said that though Nigeria had a lot of challenges in security, economy and good governance, but the present administration was doing what it could to address them.
“We are faced with a number of challenges in the country, the first one is security, which we are facing in the northeast and south-south and one or two other areas in the country
“It is a major challenge for us and has led to humanitarian catastrophic, with the displacement of over two million persons.
“We have received a lot of support from the international community for those challenges, but the government has also invested enormous resources in addressing the challenges.
“However, we are extremely grateful for the support we are receiving from the Vatican to address the huge humanitarian crisis,,” he said.
He said that the government was pushing for diversification of economy by moving away from oil dominated economy to the agriculture and manufacturing sector.
The minister said that the country had also developed a road map and the economic recovery plan, which according to him is very detailed.
He said that government was also putting emphasis on infrastructural development to enhance the development of economy and job creation for the youth.
“We are also putting a lot of emphasis on ease of doing business making Nigeria to be a point of attraction for Foreign Direct Investment to strengthen our manufacturing base,” he said.