The Italian Government on Monday said it is willing and ready to help Nigeria repatriate stolen funds stacked in foreign countries.
The Italian Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Stefano Pontesilli said this when he accompanied a delegation from the Italian Parliament led by Senator Vito Petrocelli, Chairman Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs to the State House, Abuja.
According to Pontesilli, ‘‘we are willing to cooperate with your administration 100 per cent on illicit assets repatriation.’’
Responding, President Muhammadu 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.
Earlier, Senator Petrocelli had told President Buhari that the delegation, which included Senator Tony Chike Iwobi, Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, a Nigerian and first African to be elected into the Italian Parliament, was in the country to attend to the June 12 Democracy Day celebrations.
He also congratulated the Nigerian leader 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.