Vatican City, 22 March 2014 (VIS) – Today, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis received in audience Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
In the course of the talks, emphasis was laid on the cordial relations between the Holy See and Nigeria, and appreciation was expressed for the positive contribution offered by the Church to the welfare of the entire country, especially in the areas of education and health care, as well as in promoting dialogue between the various components of society. Particular attention was given in the meeting to the protection of the dignity of the human person and his or her fundamental rights, beginning with religious freedom. In this context the joint condemnation of every form of violence was renewed and hope was expressed for a rapid return to peaceful coexistence in the whole Country.
Finally, an exchange of views took place regarding several issues of regional interest, with particular reference to the situations of crisis and conflict in central and sub-Saharan Africa.