There is no peace for the residents of the center of Padua, particularly in the immediate vicinity of via Diego Valeri, a road bordering the area occupied by the former gas facility, which has become for some time a meeting place for loiterers and drug addicts. Il Giornale reported on the drug dealing, robbery and aggressions.
The city in Northern Italy’s Veneto region, is known for the frescoes by Giotto in its Scrovegni Chapel from 1303–05, but taking up new space in the local news are criminal foreigners, in particular of Nigerian nationality.
It has become so bad, that in the municipal council has taken up the issue. The motion on the Nigerian mafia brought to the agenda by the director of Fratelli d’Italia [Brothers of Italy, Giorgia Meloni’s party] in Padua, Elena Cappellini, as reported by the local press, was approved with 18 votes in favor.
The Nigerian mafia is a concrete problem and it is useless to ignore the problem and talk of fantasies to minimize the extent of it, the newspaper noted.
Within the space of a few hours, at the troubled via Diego Valeri, there were two separate cases involving young African perpetrators: First the theft in the interior of a restaurant, and then a viscous fight which involved a group of at least eight men of Nigerian nationality.
The first incident, last Monday, on January 13, happened in the middle of the night. After closing time of the commercial business, the restaurant Antica Cina [Old China] was targeted. Using the concrete base of a street sign, two Africans, with faces exposed, repeatedly struck the window of the business until it was shattered. Once the breach was opened, one foreigner entered the location, taking a cash register, and then returned outside, where an accomplice was waiting for him. All the images were taken by a video surveillance camera installed in the immediate vicinity of the restaurant itself.
Not even 24 hours later, in the late afternoon of Tuesday January 14, a new incident was recorded, with the beating of an Italian drug addict by a gang of Nigerians, who began to fight among themselves.
It was about 6pm, and as one of the witnesses, the lawyer Giorgio Ronzani, told local daily Il Gazzettino, he was present at a scene “of unheard-of violence – an Italian, I believe a drug addict, was yelling for help while being submerged in a rain of kicks and punches”.
Afterward blows were exchanged among the same Africans, and they began to throw themselves at each other. “The employees of the area’s offices came out to see what was happening. I also shouted, ‘Stop’. It was all useless”, recalled the witness.
“In via Valeri they deal drugs every day,” reported Ronzani. “The owners of the looted restaurant are my clients. They wanted to open a recreational club in Guadenzio Passageway, in the place where a bar is now closed. The municipality, with the assessor Bressa, was also in favor because by opening gathering places the degradation by the drug dealers is eliminated. But now the Asian business people are afraid.”
As previously mentioned, the municipality has taken up the problem in a serious manner, talking openly of the Nigerian mafia, thanks to the motions of Fratelli d’Italia. Among the supporters is also Luigi Tarzia, an advisor to the security commission and to the municipality of Padua. “The phenomenon of the Nigerian mafia is in constant expansion. The areas hit hardest are the railway station and San Carlo all’Arcella. While in De Gasperi Square, thanks to private security, the African drug dealers have been kept away,” he explained.
Highly organised Nigerian gangs operate worldwide, and the Neo Black Movement of Africa has become particularly notorious.
The atrocities committed by members are well-known, according to an UNHCR report. It is claimed that the group’s initial goal of promoting black consciousness, has deteriorated into self-serving criminal behaviour that is “notoriously and brutally violent”.
Apart from the atrocities in the orbit of NBM, most members are also involved in fraud and cyber crime.
Investigations and a number of arrests of members of NBM by the Italian police brought to light various crimes committed by members of NBM. NBM and other cults were found guilty of smuggling of drugs, extortion, 419 fraud, prostitution, passport falsification, and cloning of credit cards.
In 2011, eight more members of NBM were arrested in Italy for the same offenses mentioned above. They are referred to as an international criminal organisation and Nigerian Mafia. According to internal documents, the confraternity helps members to immigrate illegally to Europe.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has meanwhile granted two migrant transport NGOs permission to drop off more African migrants in Italian ports as the country looks at renewing funds for a migrant agency previously defunded by Matteo Salvini.
The Italian leader granted port access to the Sea Watch 3 vessel with 119 migrants on board on Tuesday, with the vessel docking at the port of Taranto, while the port of Messina is expected to receive a vessel from the Spanish NGO Open Arms, Il Giornale reported.
“We are happy that our guests can finally step on safe land, but there is still a lot that needs to be changed: Shady deals with Libya, further ad-hoc agreements, EU-funded human rights abuses, this must stop!” Sea-Watch stated on Twitter.
The move comes as Democratic Party (PD) Chamber leader Graziano Delrio announced that the protection system for asylum seekers (Sprar) that had seen its centres closed and defunded by Salvini, would be reinstated.
Giuseppe Civati, a former member of the PD, said that the Salvini migration and security decrees should be totally abolished and advocated the return of the so-called “humanitarian protection” residency permit which allows migrants who fail asylum claims because they are not legitimate refugees to remain in the country — a policy scrapped by Salvini.
The number of new arrivals has risen since Salvini and his League party left the government in September of 2019.
“From September to today, considering the immigrants arriving in Taranto, Italy has received 6 249 people. In the previous eight months, with the League in government and more favourable weather conditions for departures, there were 4 976 arrivals,” Salvini said last month.
The Minister of the Interior, Luciana Lamorgese, has already twice received representatives of NGOs operating in the Mediterranean, including those of organisations investigated for aiding illegal immigration, such as the Sea Watch, the Open Arms which will have to go to trial on request of the Procura di Ragusa and Mediterranea, which has seized two ships.
The excuse is that of a “collaboration”, but the Interior Ministry has once again opened the borders in spite of Salvini’s safety decrees, bringing thousands of African migrants into Italy and legitimizing the sea taxis.
Some 1 611 people left the Libyan coast in four days. The coast guard of that country intercepted 967. What is strange is that all the rescues came after a call from Alarm Phone, the rescue phone platform of Father Mussie Zerai, who was also investigated for aiding and abetting illegal immigration.
Francesca Totolo, an NGO and migration expert, showed in a study how the boats leave only when the rescue boats are in the Libyan SAR zone.
Another question that has remained unanswered is why does Ocean Viking, for example, appear on the IMO (International Maritime Organization) website as a platform ship and not a rescue ship when it systematically recovers immigrants?
This week, the US State Department issued a second-level alert for Italy, advising its citizens traveling in the country to exercise caution.