The Nigerian Mission and Unions in Italy have vowed to get justice for late Rita Amenze, the Nigerian lady who was allegedly killed by her Italian husband on Sept. 10 in Italy.
Pastor Mike Oputteh, the Welfare Officer, National Union of Nigerian Association in Italy (NUNAI) disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.
Oputteh said the Nigerian Embassy in Italy, headed by Amb. Mfawa Abam, and the Unions have been very proactive on the issue which led to the arrest of late Amenze’s Italian husband.
He said the prompt action of the Nigerian Mission and leadership of the Unions had made the Italian Authority realise that Nigeria cares for her citizens.
“I am the Welfare Officer and when I first heard the news, I called the leader in that region, Noventa Vicentina, I told him to go and get a firsthand report on the incident, down to the police which he did.
“We got there on a Saturday, as at then, the husband had not been arrested. The police said the person in charge of the case was not around and that was when I got angry.
“When he saw my reaction, he realised the gravity. Because, they had always seen Nigerians in that area like people the government do not care about.
“I told them my Embassy was aware of the case and my ambassador sent me here to find out, it was at that point they rose to the occasion. That was when they said this is what happened, that the girl filed for divorce.
“I said I do not want to hear it, that I am interested in the husband, leave what happened, because there is no amount of justification that will allow anybody to take anyone’s life.
“It was then, the man was arrested the next day. The question is, does it mean that they did not want to work before and were waiting for us to react before they worked?
“So, the Embassy rose up, the unions rose up also and other Italian NGOs and Civil Societies came up to say they will not take it. The man was arrested the next day, even inside his house.
“I told the police that the next phase is that we will follow the case. This new NUNAI Executive led by our President, Roland Ndukuba and our Ambassador, we are leaving no stone unturned in this particular case.
“We are also going to take the case up against the Italian police because there are cases in marriages,
“When a woman says she is no longer interested, it is the responsibility of the police to separate them, give the woman shelter and give a directive of restrictions of 1000 meters to the woman.
“We have cases we are going to use against the police and the man. The Nigerian government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also been supportive,” Oputteh said.
Oputteh also told NAN that the Nigerian Ambassador, Abam had also pledged to ensure no Nigerian was unjustly treated or falsely detained in Italy.
Oputteh noted that the Italian justice system was effective and commendable, however, szid the unions would ensure they got justice for any Nigerian found illegally detained, most times based on false accusations.
According to him, the Ambassador will lead a team, including the Unions to go round Italian Prisons to ascertain if there are Nigerians illegally detained.
“In a situation where we find out about a Nigerian that was unlawfully detained, we sue for damages and in most cases, we win such cases and damages are paid.
“I know of one or two people, and the last person was paid 65,000 Euros.
“On unlawful detention of Nigerians in Italian prisons, we have gone to three prisons.”
Oputteh said he had been living in Italy for years and the police have never harassed him.
He said recently, the Italian authorities carried out some raids and some Nigerians were apprehended for drugs, and cultism, and someone, a Nigerian and a whistle blower for the Italian police included my name.
“The police did their investigations, listened to my conversations but could not find anything on me, they did not arrest me but they arrested others. They cannot just come and arrest you for nothing, they can’t.
“I have not seen any Nigerian that is unlawfully detained that we have not fought for. And if there are, and we get to find out from the prisons we are visiting, we will fight for them,” Oputteh said. (NAN)
Okonjo-Iweala ‘Less Optimistic’ About World Trade In 2024
The World Trade Organization’s chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Wednesday said she was “less optimistic” about world trade in 2024, pointing to tensions in the Red Sea.She said weaker global economic growth, “worsening geopolitical tensions, the new disruptions we see in the Red Sea, on the Suez Canal, the Panama Canal” meant “we are less optimistic”.
Okonjo-Iweala was speaking to journalists at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos where political and economic elites are meeting to discuss global challenges.
Before the massive Hamas attack on Israel in October and the subsequent outbreak of war in Gaza, the WTO had predicted trade would grow by 0.8 per cent in 2023 and projected growth of 3.3 per cent this year.
But Okonjo-Iweala warned the figure for 2024 would now be lower in future forecasts.
“We think there are a lot of downside risks to the forecasts we had made last year of 3.3 percent of growth of merchandise volumes this year. So we expect weaker performance,” she said.
“We will be revising estimates for this year, but they won’t be ready for another month or so,” Okonjo-Iweala added.
A spate of attacks by Yemeni rebels on Red Sea shipping has disrupted the vital trade route while the worst drought in decades to hit the Panama Canal has forced authorities to slow transits.
Yemen’s Huthi rebels say their strikes are in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.
The attacks have, however, also caused shipping companies to avoid the Suez Canal.
The Hamas attack on October 7 resulted in the death of around 1,140 people in Israel, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.
More than 24,400 Palestinians, around 70 percent of them women, young children and adolescents, have been killed in the Gaza Strip in Israeli bombardments and ground offensive since October 7, according to the Hamas government’s Ministry of Health.
Your Investments Are Safe In Nigeria, Tinubu Assures Saudi Investors
President Bola Tinubu on Friday assured potential investors that their investments are safe in Nigeria.
Speaking at the Saudi-Africa Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, President Tinubu said Nigeria is ready for business while assuring investors of some of the world’s highest returns on investment.
“I also wish to assure all potential Saudi investors of the safety of their investments based on the sanctity of the rule of law and good returns on their investments in the largest economy in Africa,” the President was quoted in a statement by his media aide, Ajuri Ngelale.
“In this regard, the benefit attached to the early inauguration of the Nigeria-Saudi Business Council can not be over-emphasized. Nigeria, like the Kingdom, is diversifying its economy away from oil dependence to promote sustainable development.
“My administration has undertaken bold economic reforms by removing wasteful subsidies on petroleum and the merging of our foreign exchange market, among other incentives aimed at improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria.”
Tinubu stated that Nigeria is desirous of enhancing collaboration with Saudi Arabia on combating terrorist organisations such as Boko Haram, ISWAP, and other violent extremist groups which have been terrorising the Lake Chad and Sahel regions.
He said, “Nigeria and Saudi Arabia have always enjoyed a special relationship at both the bilateral and multilateral levels. Within the past six decades, our bilateral cooperation, which was initially hajj-centric, has witnessed diversification to cover a number of areas of common interest.
“It is delightful to note the presence in this great Kingdom of a large number of our compatriots and professionals, including highly skilled medical practitioners and professional football players.
“As members of several international organizations including the UN, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the International Energy Forum, the G77, the Islamic Development Bank, and the Digital Cooperation Organization among others, our two nations have effectively used these and other platforms to enhance close interaction and coordination.”
The President expressed confidence that the countries’ joint positive disposition within those platforms would continue to be demonstrated “as we seek to advance our mutual interests”.
Further, he thanked the Middle-East nation for the various humanitarian interventions in Nigeria through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre.
Speaking on climate change and how it affects Africa, President Tinubu said climate change had led to an expedited rate of desertification and incessant flooding in Nigeria and many other countries of Africa.
He commended the efforts of the Kingdom for its various initiatives to fight the effects of climate change, adding that Nigeria is also working on a number of initiatives to fight the effects of climate change and energy poverty.
Niger coup pressures food markets in West Africa – World Bank
The World Bank says the coup d’état in Niger may put additional pressure on Nigeria and other West African nations’ food markets.
According to the global bank, “The Nigerien coup d’état puts an additional seven million people at risk of falling into severe food insecurity in the region against a backdrop of soaring commodity and staple food prices, and severe food insecurity already affecting 3.3 million people during the lean season.”
In its September ‘Food Security Update’, the bank stated that the coup d’état in Niger might put additional pressure on West African food markets.
The Washington-based bank stated that food prices increased by up to 21 per cent in August in Niger owing to the economic and financial sanctions the Economic Community of West African States and the West African Economic and Monetary Union imposed on the country.
It noted that as a result, it limited poor households’ access to food and their ability to meet their dietary needs.
It stated that with the government’s limited financial capacity to implement its food assistance programme, continued provision of food aid by the World Food Programme remains essential, as access restrictions are hindering delivery of aid.
The report observed that FAO expects that shortages of seeds and feed and high fertilizer costs would affect the next agriculture season, exacerbating food insecurity, which is expected to persist beyond the lean season.
According to the Bank, Western and Central Africa were facing persistent food crises, with the number of people in need of food and nutritional assistance in the region rising from around 10.7 million in 2019, 29 million in 2021, to more than 40 million in 2022 and 2023.
The Bank said that between June and August 2023, 42.5 million people in Nigeria and other West African countries were in a food crisis or worse.
It added that the main factors affecting food security are civil insecurity and conflict, which have led to forced displacement, climatic shocks, political instability, adding that the war in Ukraine have increased the volatility of prices for foodstuffs and other commodities and caused widespread inflation as current food prices remain higher than during the same period last year.
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