THE 39-year-old Alika Ogorchukwu, killed by an Italian on Friday, July 29, 2022, joined three other Nigerians who had come under attack in the Marche region in central Italy since 2016.
A suspected 32-year-old Italian man, Filippo Ferlazzo, from the Campania region, around Naples, had attacked Ogorchukwu, who had been on a crutch after being hit by a car and losing his job.
Ferlazzo was said to have become angry after allegedly complimenting his girlfriend.
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Multiple reports claim the deceased had told his assailant’s girlfriend that she was beautiful and should buy one of his wares, a handkerchief, or gift him a euro.
Ogorchukwu, a father of two, was selling his goods on the main street of Civitanova Marche, a beach town on the Adriatic Sea, to help his family when his assailant grabbed his crutch, pushed him to the ground, and struck him to death, the country’s police said.
“The aggressor went after the victim, first hitting him with a crutch. He made him fall to the ground, then he finished him, causing the death, repeatedly striking with his bare hands,” police investigator Matteo Luconi said at a media briefing.
The attacker used his knee to crush Ogorchukwu’s head to the ground before fleeing the scene after stealing the victim’s phone.
The police, however, deployed street cameras to track him.
While the aggression lasted, onlookers filmed the incident and failed to intervene. Video footage of the attack was posted online and has attracted outrage at a time the country is preparing for its parliamentary election scheduled for September 25.
The right-wing supporters are already making immigration an issue because many Italians believe immigrants from Africa burden the country with disease and escalate crimes.
Orgochukwu’s killing angered many Italian past and present leaders, including former Prime Minister Enrico Letta.
Letta said: “The murder of Alika Ogorchukwu is dismaying,’’ adding that “there can be no justification” for it.
Italy’s acting Health Minister, Roberto Speranza, condemned onlookers’ refusal of support for the deceased, saying that “indifference is as serious and unjustifiable as violence.”
Ogorchukwu’s death has attracted wide outrage as hundreds of Nigerians and Italians, including his wife, Charity Oriachi, protested in Civitanova Marche on Saturday.
The Nigerian Embassy in Italy and the home country through the Nigerian Diaspora Commission have responded to the attack by calling for calm and pledging to work and ensuring justice is served.
Ogorchukwu’s death followed three other Nigerians who had been attacked in Italy.
In 2018, two Nigerians were wounded alongside four other Africans in the Marche Region after they were shot by a far-right supporter, Luca Traini, who is serving 12 years in prison for the shooting.
Traini claimed he was avenging Pamela Mastropietro’s death, an Italian woman killed by a suspected Nigerian drug dealer.
Jennifer Otioto, a hairdresser, was one of the two Nigerians.
“I’ve not been in Italy long. I left Nigeria, and I found myself here. I don’t understand this kind of trouble,” she told the BBC on her hospital bed while recovering from the gunshot wounds.
Similarly, in 2016, another Nigerian, Emmanuel Chidi Namdi, 36, was killed in the region when attempting to defend his wife, who had been called an “African monkey” by an Italian right-wing football thug.
The country’s police arrested Amedeo Mancini, 35, linked to the crime.
“Investigators say that the 36-year-old Namdi was defending his wife Chinyery after Mancini called her an “African monkey”. In the ensuing fight, the 35-year-old Mancini punched Namdi, who fell to the ground, hitting his head and falling into an irreversible coma. He died in hospital the next day.
“Namdi and his wife had been living at a seminary in Fermo since September after fleeing Nigeria to escape violence from Islamist militant group Boko Haram,” reported Wanted in Rome, a local newspaper based in Rome, Italy.
The ICIR reports that the latest attack and killing of Ogorchukwu in Italy followed a similar shooting of two Nigerian, Tosin Amos Arowoshegbe and Eze Momah, on Saturday at a nightclub in the city of Vaughan, Ontario, north of Toronto in Canada last Saturday.