Nigeria: outcry as 16 Nigerians killed abroad in 2 years await justice

Cases of murders of Nigerians in foreign countries continue to occur intermittently. Daily Trust on Sunday takes a look at the recent case and others that remain unsolved.

In two years, at least 16 Nigerians have been killed in eight countries, according to data compiled by Daily Trust.

According to the data, South Africa leads the ranking with 4, America 3, Canada 2, Italy 2, Ukraine 1, Ireland 1 and Ivory Coast 1.

The data also revealed that 9 people were killed in 2022, five in 2021 and two in 2020.

These victims were killed in different circumstances by citizens of the host country, law enforcement officers or their Nigerian brethren.

But host countries have consistently portrayed the incidents as being perpetrated by common criminals or the mentally ill, reasons most victims’ families see as a cover for racism or xenophobia.

Moreover, in countries where security agents have killed Nigerians, their governments have always denied any compromise on the side of the law and have mainly attributed the carnage to rivalry clashes in legal and illegal businesses.

However, some security experts have described some of the new cases in Italy and the United States as brutal killings of innocent Nigerians with little or no provocation.

The most recent incident occurred penultimate Friday when Alika Ogochukwu was beaten and strangled by an Italian in broad daylight.

Onlookers watched and/or filmed the attacker killing Ogochukwu on a busy street in Civitanova Marche in Italy.

It was reported that Ogochukwu, 39, tried to sell a pack of tissues to his attacker and his girlfriend, but instead of dating him, the Italian beat the Nigerian, who was walking with the help of ‘a crutch. And the passers-by did not intervene while the incident lasted four minutes. He died immediately after.

The suspect, Filippo Claudio Giuseppe Ferlazzo, 32, was arrested minutes after leaving the vendor dead on the busy street

Speaking to reporters, Roberta Bizzarri, the defense attorney in the case, said Ferlazzo could face murder and theft charges because the victim’s phone was also missing.

The suspect’s attorney also claimed that the alleged killer suffered from a mental health issue, which to many seems to be the most disturbing aspect of the story.

Meanwhile, the deceased’s wife, Charity Oriachi, has demanded justice for her husband.

“I want justice for my husband. The pain is too much for me,” Oriachi said in a video uploaded to Daily Mail.

In another disturbing incident in Italy, Rita Amenze, 31, was allegedly murdered by her Italian husband, Pierangelo Pellizzar.

According to reports, the ex-husband killed Amenze after filing for divorce.

Pellizzar allegedly shot her four times in front of her colleagues in the parking lot of Mf Mushroom, a company where she worked in Noventa Vicentina.

Her grieving mother, Faith Oyahiagbon, said she had lost hope and the breadwinner. She appealed to the Nigerian Mission in Italy and the Nigerian government to help the family obtain justice for the sake of the children.

In a similar case, 27-year-old Toby Obumseli was stabbed to death by his American girlfriend in their Miami Condo.

Footage has emerged from a video of the 25-year-old Instagram model, where she is seen being held at the crime scene by officers responding to the 911 call she made inside the luxury skyscraper , completely soaked in blood.

Obumseli was attacked inside his home and died after being transported by Miami Fire Department to JMH’s Ryder Trauma Center.

Her friends and family demanded justice in what US police called a domestic and self-defense dispute.

Clenney was taken to a mental institution for a 72-hour detention under the Baker Law because she allegedly threatened to kill herself after the brutal murder.

Video surfaced of Clenney out and about Friday night in the hotel bar at Miami’s Grand Beach Hotel, where the woman recording it confronted her.

Also, another sad incident was the murder of two Nigerian men following a shooting at a nightclub in the city of Vaughan, Ontario, north of Toronto in Canada.

York Regional Police identified the victims as Tosin Amos, 25, and Arowoshegbe Eze, 22.

The club owner posted a message of condolence on Instagram, revealing that the two victims were employed as security guards at the salon.

Some of the killings, particularly in countries like South Africa, have remained difficult to explain, given the circumstances that led to the attacks.

On February 11, 2022, foreign nationals were assaulted in Vereeniging, South Africa, and two Nigerians lost their lives.

Members of the community alleged that the foreigners were involved in drug trafficking.

The President of the Union of Nigeria, South Africa (NUSA), Mr. Collins Mgbo, confirmed the killing and called on the South African and Nigerian governments to put an end to these extrajudicial killings.

“Nigeria Union unequivocally condemns all forms of criminal activity by Nigerians in South Africa, but calls on governments, especially the Consul General of Nigeria in South Africa, to intervene in this matter.

“We don’t condone crime, but justice must be served in court if someone is found guilty of a criminal act,” Mgbo said.

He noted that Vereeniging had become one of the most dangerous and dangerous places in the Vaal Triangle as it had become notorious for drug dealing and theft.

In a similar scenario, the President General of the Nigerian Citizens Association, South Africa (NICASA), Benjamin Okoli, has confirmed the killing of a Nigerian by the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police.

He said JMPD operatives invaded Ezeh’s tire shop on the evening of January 4, 2022 and manhandled him by extracting information from him.

He alleged that the deceased was strangled by police officers, which ultimately led to his death.

“According to the indications and the account of the brother, they choked him for several minutes, at the same time asking him to vomit what they assumed he had swallowed. The choking caused asphyxiation.

“Two other Nigerians in the area had accused the same group of Metro Police officers of attacking them using plastic bags to cover their heads; and they nearly died,” he said.

Waiting for justice

In all 16 cases, the families of the victims said they were still waiting for justice for their loved ones.

Ms Faith Oyahiagbon, mother of the young Nigerian woman killed by her ex-husband in Italy, said she had been following her daughter’s case since 2021 without success.

She appealed to the Nigerian Mission in Italy and the Nigerian Union to help the family get justice.

“I want to appeal to all relevant authorities to help us seek justice,” she said.

Like Oyahiagbon, the families of other victims have consistently called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to intervene and ensure justice, but there has been no result.

However, the federal government has consistently called for an investigation into attacks on its citizens overseas, but with little success.

The Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said the Federal Government has been following the cases to ensure justice for the victims.

She said the autopsy performed on the deceased Ogochukwu showed he died of suffocation.

Speaking on Arise Television on Thursday, Dabiri-Erewa said the incident happened the same week two Nigerians were shot dead in Canada.

“I will not say that Nigerians are under attack all over the world, but the world is becoming a more dangerous place. There is crime all over the world,” she said.

Ogochukwu was the breadwinner of her family despite her disability, she also said, adding that “the Nigerian ambassador is aware of the situation and will ensure that the matter is not swept under the rug. “.

“There is a very good lawyer who is handling this case. He is also handling the case of his disability. Justice must be done,” she said.

On the shooting that killed Nigerians in Canada, she said: ‘The suspect has not been arrested but has been profiled.

She confirmed that she had made contact with one of the deceased’s family members who lives in Lagos.

“We will pay them a condolence visit to share their pain,” she said.

Also, in an interview with the Daily Trust on Sunday, the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria. Mr. Thami Mseleku, said many things have triggered the killing of foreign nationals in his country, including small businesses.

“This may not apply to Nigerians in particular, but to many people working in small businesses, like those in Somalia, etc.

“When they come to a city or town in South Africa where the locals own shops, the moment they start their business, the locals’ shops will be closed because they have more means and they tend to work collectively and in the same place.

“What would the locals do when they find themselves in the competition? Either they try to fight them fairly in the competition or they start saying things about them so that people turn against them.

“We also have to look at drug and human traffickers. They are buying our police. We have realized that communities react this way because the police have not been active against drug traffickers.

“Even those who are not part of the drug trade are seen as the same by the community, so we need to arrest those who are part of the problem.

“Sometimes the police are sent by rival drug groups to harass others because it’s a competition between them,” Mseleku said.

Elna M. Lemons