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Nigerian leader confers with Pope Francis in Vatican

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Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan met with Pope Francis and the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Monsignor Pietro Parolin, on Saturday in the Vatican City.The Sunday Punch newspaper reported that Christian pilgrims from Anambra, Kaduna and the Federal Capital Territory, were part of the President’s delegation to the Vatican City, but they remained at the courtyard while the papal audience lasted.

The report quoted the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission, Mr. John Kennedy-Opara, who was part of the president’s delegation, as saying that President Jonathan used the opportunity of the papal audience to explain Nigeria’s position on same-sex marriage.

Jonathan had on January 7, signed the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill 2013 into law despite opposition from some Western countries.

According to the report, the Pope commended the Nigerian leader for the efforts being made by the federal government to tackle the mirage of challenges facing the country.

It added that the Pope rendered special prayers against the current insecurity being witnessed in some parts of Nigeria while bilateral talks on education, health and others issues were discussed.

The report said that Nigeria’s ambassador to the Holy See, Dr. Francis Okeke, noted that Jonathan’s visit was an attempt to re-establish contact with the Holy See authorities an an important part of the lives of millions of Nigerians.

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