President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the first blackman elected Senator in Italy, Toni Iwobi.
Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, in a statement in Abuja on Friday, said that Mr Buhari met with Mr Iwobi, along with a high-powered team from the Italian Senate in New York.
The meeting was held on the sidelines of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York, Thursday.
Mr Adesina said the meeting discussed issues such as illegal migration and how it could be curbed through investments in Africa, and the recharge of the Lake Chad via inter-basin water transfer, among others.
“Africa doesn’t need charity, but collaboration to develop,” the statement quoted Mr Iwobi as saying.
Responding, Mr Buhari attributed irregular migration from developing to developed countries to lack of security, education, and healthcare, among other factors.
“Climate change has had negative impact on a big country like Nigeria.
“That is why our youths often defy the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea, to try and get to Europe. It is a problem that needs to be solved,” the president said.
The Nigerian leader used the opportunity to laud Italians for their respect for the human race irrespective of colour or geo-political leaning.
“My congratulations to you, and to Italy more,” Mr Buhari told Mr Iwobi, who was elected in March on the platform of the far-right League Party.
“It shows the advanced respect of Italians for human beings, in spite of colour. It’s very impressive,” Mr Buhari added.
Mr Iwobi, who is of Nigerian descent has lived in Italy for 41 years, and is the first blackman ever to be elected senator in that country.