1st June, 2010
A Nigerian-born Catholic priest from Imo State, South East Nigeria, has been awarded one of the highest honours in Italy for his involvement in humanitarian activities in the world, his office in Potenza, Italy, said in a statement.
The priest, Father Boniface Duru, received an institutional award called â€œPremi Lucani insigniâ€ in the region of Basilicata, becoming the first Nigerian to receive such a prestigious award, Maria Caldarola, the dioceseâ€™s spokesperson said.Â Â Â P.M.NEWS learnt that the award was instituted and promulgated as law by the Region of Basilicata on 25 February2005 and recommends every year the recognition of eight illustrious citizens that have distinguished themselves in various fields, giving pride and fame to the name of Basilicata Region in particular and Italy in general at international levels.
TheseÂ include social, scientific, artistic and literary camps. Those Â who were honoured with Fr. Boniface include, composer and artist, Cesar Cataldo Carizzo, Â chief judge of the penal court Medina Brando, Â Italian American photographer, Ron Glella, author and film maker, Rocco Papaleo, foreign minister and ex senator Reinaldo Gargano, the famous Chemist and scientist Rosanna Telesca, Italian-Canadian multimillionaire Demetrio Santoro, and Fr. Antonio Grillo.
Bestowing the honour, the president of the Regional House of Assembly Mr. Vincenzo Folino said â€œ in these times of communication and interdependence, there is need to take a new look at the question of emigration and immigration which are no more questions of under development but Â an inevitable process that brings our young ones to meet with other realities in the world.â€
The occasion was marked by the presence of dignitaries from all walks of life and also present at the ceremony was the Bishop Emeritus of the Catholic Diocese of Orlu, Most Rev. Dr. Gregory Ochiagha.
Expressing his gratitude to the people of Italy, Bishop Ochiagha commended them for recognising the intelligence and ability of Fr. Boniface Duru and thanked Fr. Boniface for giving this positive image to Nigeria. Fr. Boniface Duru a Nigerian Catholic priest is the founder and honorary president of the Association. â€œOpera Don Bonifacio Â Azione Â Verdeâ€. Opera Don Bonifacio Azione Verde is a voluntary and non-profit humanitarian organisation.