According to Lucky Aghedo, a lawyer and human rights advocate, no fewer than 36 Nigerians have been held without charge in Italy.
In a statement released on Saturday in Lagos State, the lawyer raised concern on the purported arrest.
He pointed out that while some immigrants had been receiving lengthy terms, the Nigerians and other African migrants had been detained in Italy for years without being charged.
“Gazzetta di Reggio, a regional newspaper in Italy, report on April 27, 2022, no fewer than 36 Nigerians of Niger Delta origin, were arrested on grounds of different allegations ranging from credit card fraud to cultism, termed mafia in Italy.
“Since this widely publicized mass and coordinated arrest, as others had previously been detained, the suspects have not been tried.
“Most, unfortunately, these inmates lack a basic understanding of the language and resources for legal aid.”
He asked that the suspects be tried quickly or released if there was insufficient evidence to keep them in custody in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 5, Section 1C and 3.
“Prevention of crime is justification for arrest and restraint of liberties. However, there ought to be a structure for suspects to be tried conclusively within a reasonable time.”
Aghedo claimed that some Nigerian immigrants had since been accused of engaging in cult activity in Italy while brandishing machetes and other potentially lethal intimidation tools.
They were “rained down on with a heavy hand,” the rights activist claimed.
According to Aghedo, the system granted certain migrants residence cards, primarily through the asylum process, but it did not establish a system integration process, as is possible in some other nations.
“Hence, many migrants resort to hawking, begging and other anti-social behaviors to the chagrin of host communities. One must take cognizance of the trauma and scars borne by many of the survivors of the dangerous crossings and trafficking.”
The attorney said that in order to restore the survivors’ impaired psychological state, they should have gotten counseling or therapy.
“It is an issue that has exacerbated most of the anti-social behavior. Furthermore, Africans love merriment. These young stars are excited to make it to Europe alive, seeing it as a second chance in life.
“Then, they gluttonously enjoy every vice offering such as parties and drugs. They will do all this in excess, fuelled by their youthful exuberance.
“Also, being all predominantly from the same region, along with sharing the same culture and experiences, it could be argued that they congregate in a place where they enjoy things in common: be it food, music and many other.
“Hence, it will be a miscarriage of justice to assume that whenever these individuals congregate in a place, it must be for cultism,” Aghedo stated.
Aghedo urged human rights groups to collaborate with the Italian government to resolve the issue and ensure justice and equity.
“More importantly is to ensure that others eschew anti-social behavior which hopefully, will encourage peace and harmony between the host country, the suspects and the entire migrant community.”