SWITZERLAND, JUNE 11 – Senator Tony Chike Iwobi, Vice Chairman, Italian Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and the first African to be elected into the Italian Parliament, was part of a delegation from the European country that visited president Muhammadu Buhari on Monday.
The delegation, led by Senator Vito Petrocelli, Chairman of Italian Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs was in Nigeria to celebrate the June 12 Democracy Day with the president.
The Italian Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Stefano Pontesilli, who accompanied the delegation, while conveying the message of the Italian Government told Buhari: ‘‘We are willing to cooperate with your administration 100 per cent on illicit assets repatriation”
Responding, President Buhari commended the Italian government for demonstrating ‘‘open-mindedness’’ and willingness to cooperate with Nigeria on the issue of repatriation of stolen funds.
The President while acknowledging the good wishes of the Italian government in the aftermath of the February 23 presidential election, 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 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,’’ he said.
He also thanked the Italian government for its policy of accommodating displaced persons, particularly African refugees.
Head of the delegation, Senator Petrocelli congratulated the President Buhari 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 inter-parliamentary relationship between Nigeria and Italy.
Today’s Echo gathers that Tony Iwobi is an Italian politician for Lega Nord district, who was elected to the Italian Senate in the 2018 general election. He is married to an Italian woman and has two children.