Former Edo State Commissioner for Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs, Osaze Osemwingie-Ero, has raised the alarm over the illegal detention of over 300 Nigerian youths in Italian prisons for trumped-up charges on mafia-related offences.
Osemwingie said he learnt about the plight of the innocent young Nigerians during his wrongful detention in Italy as a result of a “very corrupt and complex system.”
The former commissioner, who spoke during an interview on Arise TV, on Friday, said the youths are held and committed to maximum prisons in Italy because they do not have the resources to access an independent lawyer.
“They don’t have money to take lawyers; the prosecutor gives them government lawyers that he uses to manipulate them,” the ex-commissioner noted.
He further called for the collaboration of all stakeholders including the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission and the media, among others to ensure the release of the youths.
According to him, “We have over 300 Nigerian youths who are unjustly being held in prison because of these mafia-related crimes; they didn’t commit the crime.
“I made a promise that I am going to create awareness for the release of those innocent Nigerians. We must fight as Nigerians to ensure that they regain their freedom.”
He continued: “As a senior government official, there was no support from the Nigerian government during my ordeal in Italy. I have spoken to the chairperson of Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission, who is very proactive and vocal, and she’s ready to work with us to ensure that those people are released.
“These over 300 Nigerians have families, wives, children and parents who are suffering as well. We must not sit down and allow them to languish in prison because of a very corrupt and complex system. The prosecutors are very corrupt and are using us for modern-day slavery because the European Union is paying them huge sums of money to fight mafia activities.”
“It is worthy of note that we don’t have mafia in Nigeria. I also believe that anyone who commits a crime should be prosecuted and, if found guilty, made to face the consequences. But these Nigerians, who are innocent, are suffering in prison in Europe. We must stand up for them and speak out for their release. It’s because these Nigerians don’t have a voice or the resources that they are jailed unjustly,” Osemwingie noted.
The ex-commissioner explained that he was on official trip to Germany, in 2019, to have a meeting with the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, on the Benin artefact restitution campaign when he was arrested in Amsterdam and illegally detained for over a year in Italy, adding, “I was a victim of racial discrimination and manipulation of a very corrupt prosecutor of the Italian Justice system.”
Germany allows more non-vaccinated third-country citizens to enter for tourism from Sunday, but not Brits
The German authorities have decided to permits restriction-free entry for arrivals from more third countries, in line with the most recent recommendation of the EU Council, which on July 1 expanded the list of epidemiologically safe third countries, for the residents of which the EU Member States are advised to gradually permit to enter.
According to a press release issued on Saturday, July 3, by the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Home Affairs, starting from the following day, on July 4, travellers from the countries listed below will be eligible to enter the German territory for tourism purposes:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
“Anyone who is resident in one of these countries can enter the country without an important reason for travel and regardless of their vaccination status,” the Ministry notes, further explaining that the list is completely based on the recommendation of the EU Council of Ministers of July 1, 2021.
The United Kingdom has been left out of the list once again, mainly due to the spread of the Delta variant of the Coronavirus in its territory.
The list of countries the residents of which can enter Germany even if they are not vaccinated already contains of the following: Albania, Australia, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, Macau, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the USA.
Travellers from the US, Albania, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Serbia, North Macedonia and Lebanon have been permitted to enter Germany since June 20, after the German Government decided to include these countries in the list of COVID-19 safe third countries upon another recommendation of the EU Council.
Whereas since June 25, Germany permits entry for tourists from third countries who have been vaccinated with one of the Coronavirus vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which are Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Janssen, even for non-essential travel, if 14 days have passed since they were vaccinated.
British travellers haven’t been able to benefit from this facilitation of the entry measures either as Germany has decided to keep in place the entry ban for arrivals from virus variant areas, which the UK currently is.
Germany has been one of the most affected countries in Europe by Coronavirus, with a total of 3,729,682 cases registered so far. However, statistics by World Health Organization show that Germany has now taken the situation under control after the country reported only 649 cases in the last 24 hours.
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