By Osaze Osemwingie Ero
I am writing this article as a Nigerian activist. I want the Nigerian Government, Nigerian Citizens and the whole world to know the truth of what is happening to Nigerians all over the world, especially in Italy.
Nigerians are in almost every country in this world, just like others like the Chinese, Americans, British, Arabs, Indians, etc.
Nigeria is a country blessed in Africa with rich culture, heritage and also has the highest black population in the world. We are aware that some Nigerians commit criminal acts but that doesn’t mean every Nigerian is a criminal. Those are in the minority and do not in any way represent the over 150million Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora. We don’t support the crimes of this few.
Now, there is an issue we need to consider before we join the bandwagon to accuse our fellow Nigerian citizens who may have been arrested abroad. We forget to ask ourselves this critical question: have we confirmed that our people have indeed committed the crimes they are being accused of before we throw them under the bus?
Due to a lot of injustice, racism, corrupt prosecutors, racial discrimination, manipulation of evidence, we tend to be blindfolded by the fake news about Nigeria and Nigerians that is being peddled out there by certain powerful forces.
The law as I know stands on a pedestal of equality for everyone. A common platform upon which the law is known to stand is that nobody is guilty until a competent court of law proves otherwise.
Taking us back to Italy, we remember this as a country which for many years has been fighting local Italian Mafia groups that have destroyed the Italian ethos and pathos of industry, the renaissance and art. In 1992, Italian Mafia groups allegedly bombed an express road, killing one of Italy’s famous Judges, Jovani Falconi, even with police security personnel on his convoy. It was one of the deadliest attacks linked to the Italian Mafia which prompted the European Union to sponsor and support this fight against the Mafia in Italy with undeclared European Union funds. Since then, a lot of European and Italian citizens have been arrested whether they are guilty or innocent and many are in prison. Since their own people have been arrested for Mafia-related crimes, they moved on to arrest citizens of other countries like the Chinese, Albanians, etc. When that happened, the Chinese especially, and Albanian and other governments whose citizens were arrested by the Italians came to the defence of their citizens with the strong argument that their citizens are not Mafia members, and do not come from countries renowned for Mafia related crimes. These countries insisted that if their citizens had committed any crimes, they must be prosecuted on the weight of those crimes, but not to lump them under an umbrella of Mafia crime or of being Mafioso. In the end thereof, the Italian government bowed to these arguments and thereby stopped the arbitrary arrests of Chinese, Albanian and other nationals resident in Italy.
But today, the Italian authorities have turned on Nigeria. They continue to arbitrarily arrest and lump every Nigerian they arrest in Italy over petty crime as Mafia criminals. They started with accusing them of Mafia crimes under the 416 BIS law supposedly to tackle crimes related to Mafia Association, and other crimes relating to drugs and property, including extortion, robbery, murder, serious injuries, sexual exploitation, exploitation of prostitutes, Arms (Guns, Bombs etc, Using and Selling).
All these are crimes the Italian authorities say Nigerian Mafia groups commit. But this is not true! Contemporary facts indicate that Nigerians do not engage in Maria related crimes, and the ordinary Nigerian living abroad does not have the capacity and resources to commit such crimes in their country or abroad. Most just go about seeking to eke a living.
For many years now, a lot of innocent Nigerians are languishing in many Italian prisons because some public prosecutors and lawyers collaborate to force Nigerians, (and out of Ignorance especially on the part of the Nigerians) and deceive them to choose to be tried under what is known as ‘abbreviation’ (meaning Short Trials)
without knowing it is a trap to condemn and destroy their destinies. If you have been tried under the obnoxious 416 BIS Crime, there is an everlasting dent on your image even to your unborn generations. When the Italians seek to prosecute Nigerians under the 416BIS, they initiate all sorts of dirty methods and tricks, including the use of forged documents and manipulation of unscrupulous Nigerians or ex-cons to speak against their own people with the promise of documentation for resident permit or freedom from prison. A very good example of this is seen in their last Judgement using a forged document called the GREEN BIBLE, as a manual to use to convict and sentence Nigerians who allegedly committed petty crimes, to over140 years in prison.
As we speak, two Nigerians on the ordinare Trials in Torino Italy have successfully proved that the documents being used to convict Nigerians on trumped up charges are fake, forged and contrived by corrupt prosecutors.
The unscrupulous Italian prosecutors also cite the Boko Haram crisis, cults, ethnic crises, militants and religious crises and invent stories out of these local Nigerian problems as supposed evidence that Nigerians carry out Mafia crimes. What is even much more absurd, and in my opinion very ludicrous is that in some cases, they rely on Nigerian home videos (a common one is by Kelvin Ikeduba), as evidence that Nigerians use occult practices to promote Mafia crimes.
I use this medium as a call to action on the Nigerian Government and the conscience of the whole world to come to the aid of all Nigerians illegally arrested and detained in prisons in Italy for crimes they have not committed.
This is because the injustices against Nigerians based on racial discrimination, manipulation of Justice and forgery is too much. Both the guilty and the innocent are arrested and lumped in prison. All it takes for an innocent Nigerian to be arrested in Italy is to have had a phone conversation with anyone under investigation. To have appeared in a photo with such a person or even being friends on Facebook with such a person or in any association with the person is the Italian version of being a Mafia gang member and therefore a criminal.
There are other Africans who eke a living in Italy but only Nigerians are being so persecuted and humiliated under this obnoxious Italian system. Is it now therefore a sin or crime to be a Nigeria and to seek to live abroad?
Apart from what I have said here, I recommend you go look in this book titled, ALESSANDRO SALUSTI INTERVISTA LUCA PALAMARA, IL SYSTEMA POTERE, POLITICA, AFFARI, STORIA SEGRETA DELLA MAGISTRSTURA ITALIANA (The Secret Manipulation of the Italian Magistrate System). (RIZZOLI). There you will find many evidences of what i have tried to express here.
You may also want to look at this other story about the Italian Justice System which came up again about the past Judgement of Eni (OIL COMPANY CASE) with Nigeria. In that case, it has therefore been found out that the Prosecutor of Milan (STORARI) tampered with the Judgements and Evidence of that case and he is among the corrupt prosecutors perpetrating these injustices against Nigerians. The Book above mentioned Italian prisons where Nigerians languish – in Milan, Torino, Asti, Prato, Voghera, Vincenza, Tolmezzo, Piacenza, Saluzzo, Parma, Palermo, Cosenza, San Gimignano, Caltanissetta, Spoleto, Agrigento, Catanzaro, Bologna, Santa Maria, Capua etc.
Nigerians are not Mafia people. We take a stand and maintain that if anyone commits a crime let the person be put through a competent court of law to determine his or her case. Crime should not be transferable. The families of those Nigerians illegally detained and charged under Mafia related crimes in Italy are suffering. Black Life Matters.