Photo Credit: TN
Nigerian Street Vendor Beaten To Death In Italy While Bystanders Watch
Alika Ogorchukwu, a Nigerian street vendor was tragically beaten to death in Italy while bystanders watched without intervening. Ogorchukwu leaves behind a son, a widow and a mourning community plagued by several xenophobic attacks.
Ogorchukwu, 39, was selling goods midday Friday on a main shopping street of Civitanova Marche, a small seaside town on the Adriatic Sea coast. Filippo Claudio Giuseppe Ferlazzo, 32, then brutally attacked and murdered the vendor with a disability, while no one stopped him.
It all started as Ogorchukwu approached Ferlazzo to sell some goods for “petty change”. After acknowledging that Ferlazzo was not going to buy anything, Ogorchukwu walked away. With Ogorchukwu’s back turned, Ferlazzo proceeded to brutally attack and murder him.
Footage shows the attacker wrestling Ogorchukwu to the ground as the he tried to fight for his life. The attacker then used a crutch that Ogorchukwu used to walk and struck him until he died. Both onlookers and surveillance cameras captured the fatal killing in broad daylight.
Viral video footage has sparked outrage on social media and beyond as Italy enters a parliamentary election campaign in which the right-wing coalition has already deemed immigration an issue. The lack of intervention and blatant lack of care has angered and pained many in Alika Ogorchukwu’s murder. Many compare it to the slaying of George Floyd earlier in 2020. On Saturday, hundreds of people from the Nigerian community and Italians protested in Civitanova Marche.
A statement released by the Italian police claimed that the motive for this murder seems to be “petty reasons”. Officials have not cited racial motivations at this moment.
Distress and outrage as Ogorchukwu, Nigerian street vendor beaten to death in broad daylight
Ogorchukwu’s wife, Charity Oriachi, said: “I want to look that man in the eye and ask him why he killed my husband. There were so many people around, why didn’t anyone help him? I want justice now.”
Civitanova Marche is known to be a right-led region and is no stranger to xenophobia. This region alone has seen countless xenophobic acts of violence against migrant populations, including Nigerians.
Aboubakar Soumahoro, an Italian-Ivorian activist, trade unionist and sociologist, said: “Some political parties are legitimising fear and hatred towards those who are different. This is a serious danger that we must fight every day.”
The New York Times reported that Ogorchukwu’s widow met with the mayor of Civitanova Marche and the municipal administration approved a motion to support the family. The funeral will be paid for by provided funds and a bank account is open for donations. “The community is always ready to extend a hand to those in need,” Mr. Ciarapica said in a statement to the New York Times.
Police have arrested Filippo Claudio Giuseppe Ferlazzo, 32 on suspicion of murder and theft as there is suspicion that the assailant stole Ogorchukwu’s phone before fleeing.
This senseless murder has struck a nerve worldwide and led to many questions not only about the vicious killing, but about a community willing to watch, either as a result of underlying racism or shameful indifference.