[Lambeth Palace press release] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby welcomed the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, to Lambeth Palace on May 13.
Buhari was greeted on arrival by Welby and his wife Caroline, along with the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Office, Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, and Bishop of Guildford Andrew Watson, whose diocese is linked in partnership with the Church of Nigeria.
Buhari was applauded by Lambeth Palace staff as he entered, before signing the visitor’s book. The president and the archbishop then met privately for about an hour.
Welby said it was “a great honor” to welcome 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 Buhari had visited Lambeth Palace since his election as president last year.
The archbishop said: “I think it would be fair to say that it is a rare day at this place when we do not pray for Nigeria. 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.”
He added: “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.”