Shame on NUNAI, shame on Nigeria
By Iyanda Olufemi
NUNAI is an acronym for the National Union of Nigerians in Italy, an umbrella body of all Nigeria associations in Italy. The union is embroiled in internal squabbles in recent time to elect a new leadership.
The relevance of the body in the last few years left much to be desired despite the lofty objectives the founding fathers of the union had in the late 90’s and early 2000. Then, Nigerians like Engineer Barry Igbeare, Tajudeen Alabi, Oki Yemi Michaels, Christianah Adebisi Roberts-Wabara, Osuji Agostino Emeka among others came together to put up a union that will fight for and protect the common interests of Nigerians resident in Italy. Not only this, they felt there was a need for a union that will articulate and promote a culture of a united Nigeria and spearhead the growth of the Nigeria economy through international trade and cooperation.
Unfortunately today, NUNAI has failed woefully all the objectives least of which to safeguard the interests of Nigerians resident in Italy. This ismore evident in her failure to be concerned and, or show common interest in the death of 26 Nigerian women whose death death occurred on the Mediterranean seas enroute Europe via Libya a few days ago.
Despite international outcries and condemnation in Europe and the Italian media against the continuous loss of human lives, especially of Nigerian youths who are supposed to be the future of tomorrow in the heinous human trafficking business that involved the Nigerian and Lybian organised international criminal groups, the leadership of the National Union of Nigerians in Italy was only interested in perpetuating a non functional executive headed by Faraday Ebose in office without any justifiable achievement in the last five years. A common search on google cannot yield any singular result of an activity of NUNAI.
Instead we can only find few activities of the local communities and associations to offer supports and assistance with the local authorities and voluntary associations associations to these volunerable immigrants majority of who are ladies and victims of human traffickers from Edo state.
The Nigerian Association in Parma and privince which is partnering with an association, Festival of Praise and Care, the charity arm of a Nigerian Italy based pentecostal church, Zoe Pentecostal Mission is a veritable group breaking new grounds in this regards.
The general overseer of the church, Dr. Michael Adenitire and his wife who is the president of Festival of Praise and Care, Adenitire Mabel Olufunmilayo recently opened an apartment to house Nigerian ladies who are victims of human trafficking, forced prostitution and domestic violence.
The project was in recognition of the past joint efforts of the Nigerian Association Parma & Province, Zoe Pentecostal Mission and Festival of Praise and Care by the Italian government through the municipality of city of Parma in addressing the increasing cases of Nigerian ladies and minors being brought to Italy for prostitution and drug peddling.
Most Unfortunately when this project was to be commissioned by the Italian authorities who specifically requested for the presence of the Nigerian mission in Italy no efforts was spared to invite the acting ambassador through registered letters, official e-mails and telephone calls all to no avail.
This could have most probably heralded a new and higher international collaboration and possibly new bilateral initiatives given the kind of institurions, persons and non governmental organisations committed to fighting the scourge of human trafficking, prostitution and drug trafficking involving women and minors that that were present.
This is a clarion call to all who have the ears to bring their attention of the Nigeria government to this and for Nigerians in Italy to get their acts together through organised efforts to salvage the battered image of the nation.
Iyanda Olufemi Emmanuel formerly a journalist is a language and cultural mediator working with Italian government and NGO on African immigration issues.