A former Commissioner for Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs in Edo State, Osaze Osemwegie-Ero, has laid to rest circumstances of his arrest, detention and prosecution in Italy for alleged involvement in Nigerian mafia organization.
He said the whole issue was a trump up by the Italian authorities and in the process of going through his harrowing experience he met some about 300 fellow Nigerians who were facing similar ordeals in Italy under same false allegations of being members of mafia groups.
He charged that it is his belief among others “that the prosecution team led by one Dr. Stefano Castellani is intent on persecuting Nigerians in Italy and consequently, manipulating the Italian judicial and prosecutorial system to boost his profile by falsely accusing some Nigerians of belonging to mafia organisations prosecuting them.”
Osemwegie-Ero alleged that “several Italian prosecutors are still profiling Nigerians and arresting them for crimes that were not committed.”
He appealed: “the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant Nigerian agencies should step up their responsibilities and get involved in the fight to release other Nigerians who are still illegally detained for crimes they did not commit.”
It would be recalled that Osaze Osemwegie-Ero, the then Edo State Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Diaspora Affairs, while on his way to Germany via Amsterdam on plans to retrieve Benin stolen artefacts, was in November 2019, arrested and detained at Amsterdam and subsequently extradited to Italy where he was tried on allegations of belonging to a Nigerian mafia organisation.
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