[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, has today made a visit to Lambeth Palace, the London home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, where he met Archbishop Justin; the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon; and the Bishop of Guildford, Andrew Watson.
President Buhari was in London to attend an anti-corruption conference, hosted by the UK government.
“I think it would be fair to say that it is a rare day at this place when we do not pray for Nigeria,” Archbishop Welby told the President. “We pray for Nigeria, for you personally, for all those, both in government and in opposition, in Nigeria, for the poor in Nigeria and for those who have suffered over the last number of years from the violence that has plagued your country, which you have been tackling so determinedly since you first took office.
“Nigeria is a country which has more promise, more opportunity, more potential than anywhere else that I know in many continents, not just in Africa. Its people are so intelligent, so full of energy, so full of commitment, that when Nigerians work together, the world – not just Africa – is affected by that beneficially.
“And so we pray for the potential and future of this land, to be a place that has a profound effect for good on our world, and demonstrates what is possible to be achieved.”
Archbishop Justin said that it was “a great honour” to welcome President Buhari to Lambeth Palace, “the leader of the largest country in Africa” with “the very large Anglican Church in Nigeria”. It was the first time President Buhari had visited Lambeth Palace since his election as President last year.
The Bishop of Guildford, Andrew Watson, Greets Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari as he arrives at Lambeth Palace, the London home of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Photo: Guildford Diocese
Bishop Andrew, whose diocese has enjoyed a companion link with the Church of Nigeria since 1963, making it one of the Church of England’s longest companion links, said: “It was an honour to meet with President Buhari and to share in a warm and informal conversation about some of the opportunities and challenges facing Nigeria at this time.
“It’s clear how much the President has appreciated Archbishop Justin’s support over his trip to England, and good to be able to let him know about the long-term partnership that has existed between the Diocese of Guildford and the Anglican Church in Nigeria.
“In that link, though we acknowledge our very different challenges as churches, it gives us the opportunity to pray for and encourage each other and to learn from one another’s strengths and struggles in our common commitment to Jesus Christ.
“The context of President Buhari’s visit – to commit to battling global corruption together – sets a very good example for this, and I will be praying for fruitful outcomes of that conference, and of the Church of England’s ties with the Province of Nigeria.”
On his arrival at Lambeth Palace, President Buhari was greeted by the Archbishop’s staff, who applauded as he entered. After signing the visitors’ book and meeting with the church leaders and Mrs Caroline Welby; the President and Archbishop Justin held a private meeting for about an hour.