The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, quoted this tout to have said that out of about three million Nigerians registered in Italy, 1.5 million of them needed passports, which had prevented them from returning home or getting jobs.
“One of the problems we are facing as Nigerians living in Italy is acute shortage of Nigerian passport. Most times, we go to the embassy to address the problem. What we normally get as response is the shortage of booklets and backlogs.”
“Most Nigerians prefer to have their political asylum in Italy. In Italy, we have more Nigerians than we have in other European countries; the registered Nigerians according to database are three million aside the undocumented ones,” the tout told NAN.
This is a false claim, the figures are not only spurious but also misleading. According to the Italian statistic agency ISTAT, it put the number of registered Nigerians in Italy as of January this year at 113,049 a far cry from the three million claimed by the tout. The highest number of Nigerians which is 13.8 per cent of this figure (15,632) are resident of the Emilia Romagna region of the country.
It is therefore laughable that an agency such as NAN would publish the utterances of a common tout without checking his claims. The Embassy of Nigeria in Rome which was mentioned in the report has not also deemed it fit to debunk these claims which some Nigerians commenting on the social media have recognised for what they are blatant falsehood.
It would be recalled that this very tout once invaded the meeting place of his ethnic association with members of his gang in Rome with the elders and those present at the meeting fleeing for their lives. On the occasion he also invoked “ogun” the god of iron on them.