Nigeria is regarded as one of the most powerful country in the African continent hence, it comes as no surprise that the country is aptly dubbed by many as the “giant of Africa”.
With about 200,962,417 people living in Nigeria according to Internet World Stat, the country has a teeming population making it the most populous African country, as well as the country with the highest number of black people in the world.
The country used to be a very powerful force to reckon with as its economy was fairly stable and definitely better than that of most African countries. However in recent times, the situation of the country seemed to have changed as the economy of the West African nation have plummeted thereby making many to leave the shores of the country as they seek a better life in more comfortable economies.
Though a good number of Nigerians have actualized their dream of living a better life, the mass exodus of Nigerians have not come at a price as some citizens of the country have engaged in nefarious activities. This has made many foreigners to associate the name of the country with something illegal or unlawful.
Let us take a look at two countries that Nigerians have been affected in due to some criminal elements among those that have migrated to these countries.
Nigerian Mafia Running Things In Italy
Italy is well known for the mafia organisations that have riddled the country for decades now.
The country has throughout these periods tried to weaken its homegrown mafia. However, as the Italian Government is struggling to weaken its mafia, a foreign crime group is gaining momentum.
An article from The Washington Post have it that the members of this foreign group are Nigerian. They are also said to hold territory from the north in Turin to the South in Palermo. Their activities include; trafficking of women which they deploy as prostitutes on the streets of Italy and smuggling of drugs. They are able to “recruit” new members among the wayward migrants illegally at the Italian government-run asylum centres.
According to investigators and justice officials, the Nigerian mafia as they are referred to, have capitalised on about five years of historic migration – a scenario which merges crime and migrants in a way that nationalist politicians in Europe and beyond have long sounded warning about.
So at the moment, as the political inclination of Italy switches to the right, the country will be contending with local and foreign mafia organisations. Now there is a huge question that is begging for an answer: Are long-held migration fears coming to fruition?
For those leaders who have gained control of the political set-up in Italy by making campaign promises to stop the “invasion,” the case of the Nigerian mafia helps in the justification of the lock-the-doors border approach which was put in place in 2018. Matteo Salvini, the most prominent Italian politician had recently on Twitter, highlighted a number of Nigerian crime cases one after the other, stating that these “African” crime lords are “a growing threat that needs to be eradicated immediately.”
It however, is a more trickier case for the opponents of the far-right political movement, as the problem is risky politically to downplay. They have said that though it was a case worth looking into, it is being exploited by the far-right proponents as a weapon against all migrants. They note though, that the Nigerian mafia occupies the neighbourhoods of the immigrants primarily, thereby preying on the immigrants in a way similar to Italians who had lived under the mob.
The Pope, who is against the position taken by the Italian government on migrants, had in a speech which he made in April, said that the delinquents could be found anywhere, adding that the mafia “ours – made in Italy.”
“It was not Nigerians who invented the mafia,” Pope Francis had said.
The migration of foreigners to the country have been portrayed as a source of danger by Nationalists. They have as well said that some of those who are coming to the country might have an intent of terrorism. However, these claims have been shown to be overstated according to data from other countries including the United States.
However, a review of hundreds of pages of investigative documents have shown that the Nigerian mafia has practically built Italy into a European hub of sorts, as cocaine is smuggled in from South America, while heroin is smuggled in from Asia as women are trafficked by the tens of thousands.
Investigators have said that the Nigerian syndicate is not a criminal gang but a mafia as it meets all the criteria of one. Their code of behaviour and the power the group possesses to intimidate and cow to others to silence is a strong pointer to this. Apart from this, some of the Nigerians have been placed under arrest and eventually sentenced based on mafia-related charges which were drawn up decades ago by Italy in the fight against the homegrown mob.
Surge Of Nigerian Cyber Criminals In Ghana
In recent years, Nigerians have trooped to their West African neighbours, Ghana, over the economic conditions of the country and to expand their businesses.
A downside to this migration however, is that a number of Nigerians who have moved to the West African country have engaged in a number of criminal activities such as kidnapping, armed robbery and Internet fraud. This has led to the humiliation of some Nigerians there, including the innocent ones.
For example, just recently, Nigerians in the Ashanti region of Ghana, had their shops locked by some Ghanaian youths.
According to BBC Pidgin, the shops of the Nigerians were locked after some of the Ghanaians had accused them of hijacking their customers. The BBC however, also reported that the local media in Ghana had locked up the shops over the involvement of some Nigerians in some of the recently reported kidnap cases.
Not too long after this case was reported in the media, another report broke of a Nigerian armed robbery gang who had raped a woman in front of her husband in the course of their operation. They were later arrested by the Ghanaian Police after one of the members of the crew was recognised by the victim and eventually nabbed.
The most recent case is that of seventeen Nigerians who were deported from Ghana by the GIS (Ghana Immigration Service) for their involvement in Internet fraud popularly known as ‘yahoo yahoo’ in Nigeria. Upon their arrest, they were found to be wanting in their immigration requirements and so were sent packing from the country.
In conclusion, it would be of good service to the country and Nigerian immigrants themselves, especially those with criminal intent, if they could behave in a more acceptable manner and be guided by the rules of land they find themselves in.
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