‘If it were an Italian, would someone have come to the rescue?’: Nigerian murder raises debate over racism in Italy | World

The murder of Nigerian Alika Ogorchukwu shocked Italy. Last Friday (29), on a busy street in the city of Civitanova Marche, in the central region of the country, he was beaten to death, in broad daylight, in front of people who watched, filmed, photographed, but did not try. prevent crime. As the security camera footage shows, the assassin, Italian Filippo Claudio Ferlazzo, took the crutch that the African used to walk, beat him and suffocated him to death. The assault lasted 4 minutes.

  • In the face of indifference from pedestrians, Nigerian is beaten to death on a street in Italy

Several questions have been raised since images of the street vendor’s brutal murder began to circulate. But the main thought that has been floating around in Italy since then is summed up by the deputy national secretary of the Nigerian association in the country, Patrick Guobadia: “If Alika had been Italian, would anyone have come to the rescue?”

Nigerian seller beaten to death in Italy

Nigerian seller beaten to death in Italy

Alika’s widow seeks a meaning for the insane gesture. On Saturday, she told reporters that she would like to come face-to-face with the killer to ask him the reasons for the gesture. Ogorchukwu had lived in the country with his wife for over 10 years and had an eight-year-old son.

After a spontaneous protest shortly after the murder, the Nigerian community will return to the streets next weekend alongside associations and institutions.

But not only the Nigerian community criticized the indifference of the witnesses. Politicians and civil society representatives were also outraged at the lack of action by those present at the time of the murder. But on social media, many also interpret the witnesses’ reaction as “fear of getting hurt”.

Local police spokesman Matteo Luconi said that so far there are no elements that point to a crime of racism, and initial investigations reveal that the attacks were motivated by a request for alms from Ogorchukwu.

Ferlazzo, who was arrested on Saturday, said in his first deposition that he assaulted the man because he had made “inappropriate” comments about the woman who was with him. He later admitted that the attack of hatred was motivated by a request he considered “insistent” for alms. In addition to the crime of murder, he was indicted for the theft of Alika Ogorchukwu’s cell phone. Ferlazzo’s lawyer claimed he has “psychiatric problems”.

In Italy it is difficult to obtain up-to-date statistics on racism. The association Lunaria, a secular and independent NGO founded in 1992, published a report in which it analyzes the data provided by the ODIHR/OSCE Observatory (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) on hate crimes, fed by official data provided by the Police and by OSCAD (Observatory of Security against discriminatory acts). They are also based on another official reference source: UNAR (National Office against Racial Discrimination).

According to Lunaria, Italy is not a welcoming country. In 18 years, between January 1, 2008 and March 31, 2020, there were 7,426 episodes of racism on Italian soil. Of this total, 5,340 are cases of verbal violence, 901 physical aggressions, 177 material damages and 1,008 cases of discrimination.

According to data from this association, the “ethnic-racial” reason is the most recurrent (more than 70%), followed by religious, sexual orientation, discrimination motivated by prejudice against disabilities, age, while multiple prejudices are less common.

If you enter the election campaign

The murder has become a topic of discussion within the Italian election campaign, which is currently experiencing yet another moment of political turmoil since the resignation of the head of government, Mario Draghi. Even if everyone took a stand against the brutal gesture, right-wing parties are accused of fomenting racism.

“A desperate left uses a poor man killed by a criminal for days to accuse me, the League, and millions of Italians of racism,” countered Matteo Salvini, leader of the League, the far-right party, on social media, before asking for security to be restored in Italian cities.

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