All Africa report: Pope Benedict XVI has congratulated President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the Federal Government and all Nigerians on the occasion of the country's 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations.
A personal congratulatory message from the Pope was delivered to President Jonathan on Thursday, September 30, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, by his special envoy and personal representative, Cardinal Peter Turson.
In the message to the President, Pope Benedict conveyed his "prayerful wishes for the continued well-being, growth and prosperity of Nigeria and its citizens".
Responding, President Jonathan asked Cardinal Turson to convey the appreciation of the Government and people of Nigeria to the Pope.
He said that Nigerian appreciated the Holy Father's prayers and will continue to have good relations with the Vatican.
Also today at the Presidential Villa, President Jonathan received the Chinese Minister of Industry and Information, Mr. Li Yizhong who is representing his country's leader, President Hu Jintao, at the celebrations.
Welcoming Mr. Yizhong and his delegation, President Jonathan expressed the hope that the already cordial relations between Nigerian and China will continue to be developed for the mutual benefit of both countries.
The Minister told President Jonathan that China attaches great importance to its strategic partnership with Nigeria and that President Hu Jintao could not personally honour his invitation to Nigeria's 50th Independence celebrations as he would have wanted because October 1 is also China's National Day