Two Nigerian mafia clans operating in Italy and abroad to traffic and sell women into sex slavery and prostitution have been busted by Italian police
In a massive operation on Tuesday, some 32 people were arrested in Puglia, Sicily, Campania, Calabria, Lazio, Abruzzo, Marche, Emilia Romagna, Veneto and, abroad, in Germany, France, Netherlands and Malta.
The report by ANSA, Italian news agency did not indicate whether the 32 are all Nigerians and whether there were European collaborators arrested with them
Those probed are suspected of conspiracy, trafficking, making slaves of women, extortion, robbery, bodily harm, sexual violence and exploitation of prostitution, police said.
The probe was led by Bari anti-mafia prosecutors and coordinated by the central operational service in Rome with the help of Interpol.
The investigation was carried out by the Bari flying squad.
The two clans were the Supreme Vikings Confraternity and the Supreme Eye Confraternity, better known as “Reds” e “Blues”.
The gangs operated with the slogan “the three Ds”, referring to “donne, denaro e droga” (women, money and drugs).
Some 49 people were placed under investigation, all Nigerian nationals.
Investigators said the women, most of them trafficked and subjected to physical and psychological violence, also via voodoo rites, were forced to become sex workers.
The proceeds of the prostitution rackets were sent to Nigeria via couriers or ‘hawala’ systems, or reinvested in drug trafficking.
The probe found an exponential rise in cash flows from Italy to Nigeria, which was estimated by the Bank of Italy at 74.79 million euros in 2018, double what it had been in 2016, and consisting of 6.2 million illegal proceeds per month.
Investigators compared this to the numbers of Nigerians in Italy, equal to 105,000 as of June 30 this year – most of them men, with a lower employment rate (45.1%) than the general non-EU population (59.1%) and the highest unemployment rate (34.2% compared to 14.9% of non EU nationals).
The bust was hailed by politicians including Brothers of Italy (FdI) leader Giorgia Meloni who said “we must extirpate this cancer” and League MP Rossano Sasso who said the probe had highlighted the need, yet again, to close down the vast CARA asylum seeker centre in Bari, where much of the trafficking and drug dealing allegedly took place.
Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese said “today’s international operation attests to the attention and hard work of the investigators and police forces to combat on the whole national territory all the various ramifications of the Nigerian mafia”.
The Bari prosecutor’s office warned against exploiting the probe to tar all Nigerian migrants with the same brush.
“Let there be no exploitation of this affair. The Nigerians who have been arrested are persons who committed crimes, exactly like we do with people of any colour, race or country.
“Then there are very many Nigerians who asked help in the forms laid down by the law, asking the Italian State, that is, to intervene to restore order and justice”.
Reps Reject Castration As Punishment For Rapists
The House of Representatives has rejected the recommendation for castration of rapists.
The Nation reports that the reps voted against a prayer seeking to recommend castration for rapists at the plenary on Thursday, considered and adopted a motion on the rising cases of sexual violence in Nigeria.
A member of the house, Mr James Faleke, had recommended that persons found guilty of rape should be castrated.
The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, however, asked what would happen to an older female who rapes a younger male, just before the prayer was subjected to a voice vote.
The House of Representative put the prayer to vote and it was rejected by the majority.
Ogoni: We’ve Started Clean-up At 57 Sites — FG
The Minister of Environment, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, says no fewer than 57 sites at Ogoni land in Rivers are being cleaned up currently.
Abubakar made the disclosure while speaking with State House correspondents on Wednesday in Abuja, saying that he had presented a report on the ministry’s mandate to a meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
The virtual meeting was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The Ogoni cleanup in the past has been a story. Finally, President Buhari came in 2016 and the contract was given out.
“We are currently cleaning 21 plus 36 sites in Ogoni land. All these are impacted areas with hydrocarbon — a very big project.
“The world is watching this project because of the nature of hydrocarbons and what they can cause to the environment and the people living there.’’
The minister said that planting of 25 million trees was also in the fore burner and that the ministry was collaborating with state governments on the project.
Abubakar said that the Federal Ministry of Environment was one of the implanting ministries of the 774, 000 jobs approved by the president.
“So, those skilled and unskilled labours are coming through the ministry. About 200, 000 people will be employed plus additional 2,000, who are going to be employed by the erosion department of the ministry.’’
He said that the ministry was also handling waste recycling, describing waste management as a big project.
Abubakar said that waste management entailed waste reduction, waste recycling, waste re-use and waste recovery, among others.
According to him, it is no longer fashionable to produce, use and dispose waste.
The minister said that his report to FEC also covered efforts being made on erosion control in the South East and the upper North areas of the country.
“We have two programmes on erosion control. One is being handled by the department in the ministry of environment, which is in charge of mostly conventional erosion.
“Then, we have the big one which is being sponsored by the World Bank and we call that Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project.
“The project deals with gully erosion — huge erosion that will gulp houses and you know South-East is prone to this type of erosion because of the geologic nature of the area.’’
On job creation, the minister said that the Ogoni cleanup had created 765 jobs, adding that more jobs would be created through the cleanup.
He said that a programme on training of 400 women in agriculture, aquaculture and poultry was also underway.
“We have the National Generator Emission Control Programme that will be coming on line.
“These are jobs that will be crated immediately after COVID-19,’’ said the minister.
Court Orders Immediate Release Of Orji Kalu
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the Nigerian Correctional Services to immediately release a former Governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu.
Kalu is in the Kuje Correctional Service centre following his conviction last December for looting N7.65billion belonging to Abia State.
Justice Mohammad Liman granted the lawmaker’s application for release moved by his counsel Lateef Fagbemi.
The judge made the order after he received no opposition to Kalu’s application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
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