Nigerians in Italy have cried out over “racist policies”.
The National Union of Nigerian Associations in Italy (NUNAI) raised the alarm in a statement by Hodge Samson, the President, and Douglas Osawaru, the Secretary.
They said a recent comment of a former minister of Giuseppe Conte government has re-echoed the need to reflect on the status of Nigerians residing in the European country.
“The Nigerians, who have settled in Italy, for this person, have become the real evil to fight. His insults and instigations to social division, however, did not dismantle the spirit of inclusion that animates honest citizens, but rather reinvigorated them.
“The Nigerian community living in Italy will, therefore, remain on its good intentions. It is pleonastic to specify that Italy hosts hundreds of thousands of Nigerians who contribute in every sphere of Italian life – sport, entrepreneurship, culture, society, health, security forces.”
On the arrests that took place in Palermo, NUNAI said it was in the newspapers that they were “Nigerians who have no tenants maintained by citizenship income; super drug dealers”.
The body insisted that the arrest did not involve only Nigerian citizens “but also Italian subjects such as Gioacchino Scaglione, Leonardo Casano and Antonino Barbera.”
NUNAI said they too are recipients of citizenship income but no one wanted to highlight it.
The Nigerian community urged the Italian head of state and the European community “to resolve these racist policies that ultimately animate the Italian press and the ideologies that row against cultural and social cohesion”.
It lamented that children often return from school crying because they are bullied by their peers and labeled as “Mafiosi or Nigerian mafia”.
“This is a situation that must be acknowledged to have been created by the politics of hatred and exclusion”, NUNAI added.