The wife of a Nigerian street vendor is calling for justice following the brutal death of her husband on the streets of Italy.
39-year-old Alika Ogorchukwu was selling goods on Friday on the main street of Civitanova Marche, a beach town on Italy’s Adriatic coast, when his attacker grabbed the vendor’s crutch and struck him down, according to police.
The father of two’s brutal death was filmed by onlookers who made no attempt to physically intervene – sparking outrage online.
“I just want justice for my husband,” said Ogorchukwu’s wife, Charity Oriachi during a protest at the murder scene on Saturday. “The pain is just too much.”
Police arrested 32-year-old Filippo Claudio Giuseppe Ferlazzo. He’s been charged with Ogorchukwu’s murder and allegedly stealing the victim’s mobile phone, according to local agency ANSA.
Police used street cameras to track Ferlazzo’s movements and arrested him on Saturday. Local media have reported that Ferlazzo is currently being held in the Montacuto prison in Ancona.
Local media say police do not believe the attack was racially motivated and that Ferlazzo will not be charged with racism.
‘The situation is quite clear, everything seems to have emerged from a dispute over frivolous reasons, not racism’, said Matteo Luconi, one of the investigators.
Luconi said the assailant lashed out after the vendor made “insistent” requests for pocket change. However, Daniel Amanza, who runs the ACSIM association for immigrants in the Marche region’s Macerata province, claims Ferlazzo became infuriated when Ogorchukwu told the man’s girlfriend she was beautiful.
“This compliment killed him, “Amanza told The Associated Press.
“The tragic fact is that there were many people nearby. They filmed, saying “Stop”, but no one moved to separate them,” Amanza said.
Police are questioning witnesses and viewing videos of the attack.
Amanza says Ogorchukwu resorted to selling goods on the street after he was struck by a car and lost his job as a laborer due to his injuries.
Francesco Mantella, a lawyer who helps Nigerians in the country in different cases was stunned by the fact no one came to the victim’s aid.
“This is horrible. No one is helping to stop this murderous rage against him. This shameful indifference must be investigated. It shows that there is no longer a sense of citizenship, sensitivity and solidarity.”
Roberto Speranza, Minister of Health and member of the left-wing Articolo 1 party said in a statement on Twitter that “The brutal murder of Alika Ogorchukwu in the street in Civitanova Marche is shocking. Indifference to the incident is as serious and inexcusable as violence.”
Matteo Salvini, leader of the right-wing League Party, known for its anti-immigration theses, agreed.
“It is madness to die in this way. I hope whoever did this will receive the highest possible punishment.”
Francesco Acquaroli, President of the Marche Regional Government from the far-right Brothers of Italy Party, expressed his condolences to Alika’s family in a statement on the incident.
“In this matter, we will want to intervene as a civil party in the lawsuit to be opened in order to defend the identity, values and image of Marche. We have always been and want to remain an inclusive and supportive community.”
Macerata was the site of a 2018 mass shooting targeting African immigrants that wounded six people. Luca Traini, 31, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the shootings, which Italy’s highest court confirmed qualified as a hate crime.
Story compiled with assistance from wire reports