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Nigeria’s president meets with Pope, says Pontiff will visit nation

Catholic World News - March 24, 2014

Pope Francis received President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria in audience on March 22.

The nation of 175 million, Africa’s most populous, is 50% Muslim, 25% Protestant, and 15% Catholic. The Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram has been attacking Christians in the largely Muslim northern section of the nation; President Jonathan is a Christian.

“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,” according to a statement from the Holy See Press Office.

“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,” the statement continued. 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.”

The Pope and the Nigerian leader also discussed “several issues of regional interest, with particular reference to the situations of crisis and conflict in central and sub-Saharan Africa.”

After the meeting, President Jonathan said that the Pope promised to visit Nigeria, according to multiple media reports.

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