James Emejo in Abuja
Pope Francis has said he has been praying for the peace and stability of Nigeria.
The Pope reportedly made the comment when he met with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, in Saint Peters Square, Vatican City.
The Speaker had led Nigerian delegation to the Holy See for a morning mass where nationals and leaders from different countries of the world gathered to join His Holiness for the mass and receive blessings from the Pontiff.
According to a statement by the speakerâ€™s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dogara who described the meeting with Pope Francis as â€œawesomeâ€, said he was surprised and delighted to know that the pontiff is well informed about the happenings in the country.
The moment I was introduced to him as the Speaker of the Nigerian Parliament, he said â€œhow is Nigeria and how are you working for the peace of Nigeria?â€ â€œPray for me also.â€
Pope Francis then told the Speaker that he always prays for the peace of Nigeria, saying, â€œ I pray for the peace of Nigeria and pray for me alsoâ€.
The Speaker was accompanied by the Nigerian Ambassador to the Holy See, General Goerge Godwin Umo (rtd) who disclosed that the Pope has been holding mass in honour of the 26 Nigerian girls that died in the Mediterranean sea while trying to enter Italy few weeks ago.
Dogara is in Italy on the invitation of the President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Ms Laura Boldrini, for an international conference on â€œHuman Trafficking and women empowerment: The Partnership between Nigeria and Italy.â€