By Daniel Idonor
ABUJA—POPE Benedict XVI, yesterday, congratulated President Goodluck Jonathan, the Federal Government and all Nigerians on the occasion of the country’s 50th independence anniversary celebrations.
The message was contained in a personal letter delivered from the Pope to President Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, by The Holy See’s special envoy and personal representative, Cardinal Peter Turson.
In the message to the President, Pope Benedict conveyed his “prayerful wishes for the continued well-being, growth and prosperity of Nigeria and its citizens.”
Responding, President Jonathan asked Cardinal Turson to convey the appreciation of the government and people of Nigeria to the Pope.
He said Nigerian appreciated the Holy Father’s prayers and would continue to have good relations with the Vatican.
China honours Nigeria
Also yesterday at the Presidential Villa, President Jonathan received the Chinese Minister of Industry and Information, Mr. Li Yizhong, who is representing his country’s leader, President Hu Jintao at the celebrations.
Welcoming Mr. Yizhong and his delegation, President Jonathan expressed the hope that the already cordial relations between Nigerian and China would continue to develop for the mutual benefit of both countries.
The Minister told President Jonathan that China attached great importance to its strategic partnership with Nigeria and that President Hu Jintao could not personally honour his invitation to Nigeria’s 50th independence celebrations as he would have wanted because October 1 is also China’s National Day.