Monday, October 31, 2011

Re: Fuel Subsidy Removal: Time to “Occupy” Nigeria!

I received an exceedingly high volume of responses to the above article by email and on my Facebook page. Although my readers differ on whether or not a pan-Nigerian protest is possible, they are united in condemning the planned hike in fuel prices and in desiring some kind of civil disobedience to save the government from itself. Enjoy their varied and insightful thoughts.

This must go down as your hottest article! I hope Nigerians will rise up and resist this fuel price increase. I'd wrongly focused on the camouflage: the "removal of subsidy". We now know the facts and figures.
Abdurrahman Muhammad, Maiduguri

Sir, I am a regular reader of your column. I found your current article interesting and thought-provoking. Personally I’ll love a revolution to start in Nigeria. People believe revolution won’t be possible here, but i tell you I just graduated from a university where the authority trembles at the uproar of her students. I wonder if such energy could be displayed on government.

Implication: young people here will support change, only if the instrumentality is put in place. Instrumentality? Supports from sincere well to do citizens home and abroad, arms proliferation geared towards government and not to slaughter her innocent inhabitants which are suffering from same obnoxious policy of government. I wish Boko Haram could turn their face on government alone. 

Personally, I read political science and public administration. I know the capitalist states being led by USA (Uncle Som), will not support such movement because of black gold she derives from the Nigerian soil. But the fact is that, we need change. It can start now. I have friends i can talk to to follow suit. No country ever moves forward without civil disobedience. I read and understand this from history of some countries of the world. I support civil disobedience, I support Nigerian Revolution, and I support Occupy Nigeria.
Seyi Babatunde, Lagos.

Farooq has summed up the reality of the country's desperate and pitiful situation. If we do not act now, it will be too late. The tiny parasitic elite is banking on the legendary docility and ethno-religious divide which they can readily exploit. Organised labour and civil society are yet to be infested by this malady, and so they have some credibility to lead this "Occupation". Already the average Nigerian sees the political class in their open thieving at the same level as common criminals. It is only the spark that is required for this long awaited ignition. The whole system is for sure rotten, but lasting change will elude us if we do not collectively act now. Nigerians must rise up now. God bless Nigeria and its good people.
Prof. Jacob Kwaga, Zaria

I think a country whose citizens vote on religious and ethnic considerations who went on a killing spree after the elections, killing people that do not share the same faith or ethnicity with them cannot rise up against tyranny.
Once Nigerians start demonstrating against subsidy removal, the demonstrations will be turned into a Muslim-Christian conflict and innocent people will just lose their lives sparing the real enemies.
Dr. Abdullahi Dahiru, Kano

The most effective tool in the hands of ruling elite is existing ethnic and religious cleavages among Nigerians at all level. Having known the elixir of education as a panacea to this problem, they have raised its rung above the feet of certain Nigerians through exorbitant school's fees and destruction of education for those who are managing to pay that fees thereby make them an 'educated illiterate' after graduation
Omotosho N. Olalekan, Lagos

Just finished reading your piece. I must confess that this is a master piece. We must, however, rise above religious sentiment if we must "occupy". We must also go beyond writing on Twitter, Facebook and act in the real sense of it. We have prayed enough. God isn't going to come down and change our situation. God helps people who help themselves. We must act!
Yusuf Sambo, Bauchi

Brilliant! My fear is that if eventually Nigerians do decide to unite and fight back against this injustice and oppression, the very smart, manipulative and ruthless political elite will equally fight back using the age-old weapon of religion and ethnicity. They will hire hoodlums, vandals and thugs who will destabilize the peaceful, justified protests and turn it into an ethno-religious crisis, just as they did during the post-elections protests and crisis. It started out peacefully, then it was hijacked by hoodlums.
Zainab Usman, Birmingham, UK

You just hit the nail on the head. This is the enlightenment that is required to propel Nigerians into action. All that we need do is to step up the sensitization so the average Nigerian would be informed about our situation. I bet you, Nigerians would choose life ! That’s the one option that is left.
Zubair Abdulkarim, Lokoja

Like football, we shall fight a common cause this time around forgetting all our differences. Thanks. That was a masterpiece!
Godwin Isenyo, Kaduna

 When i saw the heading, I knew I had to settle down to read it .I did, and it was comprehensive. I, however, fear for your safety. My prayer is that you will not have a Government delegation waiting for you at the airport next time you are home. The piece was bold. The whole scheme stinks.  It is insensitive and a further proof of how far the Nigerian Government is from the people. As long as Government and their business partners (fronts) in the organised private sector or corporate Nigeria(however they call themselves) continue to engage in these brazen acts of "raping" the people and claiming it is consensual, someday soon the victim will become the villain.

As for “Occupy" Nigeria, that is another story. I do not see it happening due to the manner the country is polarized. People who cannot currently afford kerosene to cook or light their lanterns will be the ones saying “leave so and so alone, it is ‘our’ turn.”
This psyche (of the raped, another version of the Stockholm syndrome) is what the rapists are banking on.
Tina Hanis, Abuja

I think we can do it. If Egyptian could go past their religious and ethnic differences, why can't we? After all, it is a matter of survival now.
Tijjani Abdussalam, Maiduguri

Related Article:
Fuel Subsidy Removal: Time to "Occupy" Nigeria!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fuel Subsidy Removal: Time to “Occupy” Nigeria!

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
A seismic social convulsion is sweeping across the advanced capitalist nations of the world right now. It’s called the “Occupy” movement, which started with the “Occupy Wall Street” protest in New York. As I write this column, the protest continues to gather momentum and spread to not only other American cities (there was a hugely successful “Occupy Atlanta” protest here) but also to other major Western capitals and cities.

At the last count, nearly 100 countries in the world have caught the “occupy” bug. It’s a spontaneous grassroots rebellion against asphyxiating elite tyranny, greed, and other capitalist excesses.

But there is nowhere in the world that this protest is needed more urgently than in Nigeria where a clueless, thieving, conscienceless, parasitic, and indolent elite class is about to commit suicide through its wrongheaded plan to “remove fuel subsidies,” which is nothing more than an unimaginative, well-worn code for increasing fuel prices and deepening the misery of an already traumatized citizenry.
Hope it never gets to this point!
One of the slogans of the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters is, “We are the 99 percent”— in reference to the obscene income disparity in America where more than 40 percent of the wealth generated by the economy goes to the top 1 percent of the country’s population. But the income inequality in America pales miserably in comparison with the outrageously unconscionable pauperization of large swaths of the Nigerian population by a cruelly insensitive and rapacious ruling class. Nigeria’s problem isn’t merely one of income inequality; it’s more the sobering reality of the perpetually savage rape of the masses of the people by a criminally privileged elite few in order to subsidize their vain, epicurean indulgences. 

Nowhere is this insensitivity more evident than in the perennial blackmail of the masses by successive governments through removal of so-called fuel subsidies. For as long as I can remember, every Nigerian government has “deregulated” and “removed fuel subsidy” to generate income for “national infrastructural development.”  When the late General Sani Abacha hiked fuel prices in the mid-1990s, for instance, we were told that the last subsidy had been removed. To “cushion the effect” of this drastic action, the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) was established and entrusted with the responsibility of renewing Nigeria’s decaying infrastructure and health care.

After that “subsidy removal,” a lot of Nigerians were relieved not because they were anesthetized by the PTF palliative but by what they thought was their freedom from the permanent government blackmail that told them they were undeserving beneficiaries of government’s expensive benevolence through fuel subsidies. But the freedom lasted for only a short while. Olusegun Obasanjo came and rehabilitated the old blackmail strategy: he said government was collapsing under the ponderous weight of its magnanimity toward the masses through fuel subsidies. He therefore increased fuel prices more times than any president or head of state in Nigeria’s entire history. 

The last time he increased fuel prices, he assured Nigerians that the last abiding subsidy had been removed once and for all. The oil industry was now truly and totally "deregulated." Government would no longer intervene in determining fuel prices. In the new “deregulated” milieu, the wise, invisible but self-regulating dynamic of demand and supply would determine fuel prices. Even though Nigerians were being fooled for the umpteenth time, they, in their legendary docility, put up with the government’s lies and came to peace with the unjustified increases in fuel prices.

Now, the Goodluck Jonathan administration is deploying the same old, hackneyed, duplicitous, and mind-numbingly familiar arguments to increase fuel prices. But I think this time around the government is pushing its luck a little too far—never mind that the name of the president is “good luck.” As the English say, even a worm will turn, meaning even the meekest and most docile person will fight back if you push him so hard that he has nowhere else to escape to. 
Goodluck Jonathan--may not be lucky this time
The government is about to push the masses of Nigerians to a cul-de-sac. When that happens, the masses would be faced with only two options: fight back fiercely and doggedly or submit to incremental but sure death. If it is true that self-preservation is the first law of nature, I expect a sustained, single-minded, and uncompromising battle in the coming months. The time may have finally come when the fault-lines of ethnicity and religion that have historically divided Nigerians will no longer matter.

But the Nigerian people should never wait until next year when the government increases fuel prices before they strike. The “Occupy Nigeria” movement should start right away! And here is why.

While over 80 percent of Nigerians live below the breadline, our legislators at both houses of the National Assembly earn more money than any elected official in the whole world, including Barack Obama, president of the world’s most prosperous nation. Our president and his numberless coterie of useless minions pillage the national treasury daily in the name of maintaining government. Our ministers are the most expensive appointed public officials in the world. 

Now, because a numerically insignificant portion of the population that are “privileged” to work for government asked for a miserly 18,000 naira ($114) a month minimum wage, the government wants to push every Nigerian who falls outside the orbit of institutionalized stealing otherwise known as government to the brink, to the very edge of existence. The same government that is complaining of the unbearable burden of “subsidizing” fuel prizes for the masses of Nigerians has depleted our foreign reserve by $3.5 billion in 2011 alone to subsidize the unconscionably lavish opulence of its members.

In all of this, perhaps the biggest scandal is that among oil-producing countries in the world, Nigerians pay about the most for petrol. While Nigerians currently pay about $1.64 for fuel per gallon, Venezuelans pay only 18 cents per gallon (meaning a bottle of water is cheaper than a gallon of petrol in the country!), Iranians pay just 37 cents per gallon, war-ravaged Libyans 54 cents, Saudi Arabians 48 cents, Qataris 72 cents, Bahrainis 78 cents, Turkmens (citizens of Turkmenistan) 72 cents, Kuwaitis 87 cents, Omanis $1.17, Yemenis $1.32, etc. Only citizens of the United Arab Emirates pay slightly higher than us for petrol at $1.78 per gallon.

The standard of living in all of these countries is, of course, light-years higher than Nigeria’s. They have better social safety nets for their poor. 

I read that that government wants to raise the fuel price to 141 naira per litter at the very minimum, which adds up $3.6 per gallon! That would mean that petrol would be cheaper in America and some European countries that don’t export oil than in Nigeria! I currently pay a little over $3 per gallon in Atlanta for quality fuel that actually burns a LOT slower than the fuel I use when I’m in Nigeria. (Nigerian importers always import the lowest possible quality of fuel to the country).

Remember, too, that the federal minimum wage in the United States is $7.25 per hour. That adds up to $1,160 per month, which is equivalent to 184,000 naira per month. In the state of Washington, the minimum wage per hour is $8.67. 

So by next year, a low-grade clerk with an 18,000 naira monthly salary in Nigeria will be paying more for fuel than an American laborer who receives the equivalent of 184,000 per month. And the low-grade clerk is a citizen of the world’s 8th largest exporter of oil. Where is the justice in that? Why the heck should we have cream on our hands and our faces are dry?

If Nigerians don’t wake up now and occupy Aso Rock, the National Assembly, the Federal Secretariat, the Central Bank, governor’s offices all over the federation, etc they will be “occupied.” And this “occupation” will be more suffocating than it has ever been. The choice before Nigerians is one between death and life. I hope Nigerians choose life! 

Related Article:
Biggest Scandal in Oil Subsidy Removal Fraud

What do you think? Share your thoughts with me below or on my Facebook page.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Re: Italy’s Curious Love with Nigerian Criminals

I have been receiving what seems like an endless stream of responses to my seriesof articles on Nigerian asylum seekers in Italy who cook up all manner ofwildly comical lies against their homeland and compatriots in order to win the sympathy of Italian immigration authorities. Given the number of visits I’ve been getting on my website from Italy and the number of times my articles have been quoted in the Italian media, it’s obvious that my interventions have had some appreciable traction in Italian national conversation about this issue. That alone makes me feel that my efforts have been worth the trouble.

 I am also glad that President Goodluck Jonathan’s spokesman, Reuben Abati, has spoken to the Italian media and basically confirmed all that I’ve been writing here for the past couple of weeks. Of course, I can’t reverse Kate Omoregbe’s asylum, nor do I want to do that; I want people to live wherever they find comfort and inner peace. I only resent people telling blatant, malicious lies against their country and other people’s culture just because of their narcissistic calculations.
Read below a sample of the thoughtful responses I've received from readers.

We Italian Muslims and Muslims in Italy are disgusted by this umpteenth attempt to portray Islam negatively by the Italian media: every occasion is good for them to jump on Muslims and accuse them of whatever is the new "news".

I really wish that the Islamic and national organisations in Nigeria could make pressure as far as in their capacity to shed light over the ocean of lies under which we're daily submerged.
Jazakum Allah khayran.
Umar Andrea Lazzaro, Italy

I am from Kano state and I live in Italy. I enjoyed your series on the attitude of Nigerians in Italy. Permit me to stay that I am personally not surprised at all by these developments. I discovered some few issues with the whole saga, however. Regarding what you said at the conclusive aspect of today’s article, these people, in my opinion, are not doing these unfathomable acts because they are even passionate about Catholicism. In fact, I have spoken to many Italians who feel their religion is life--party, girlfriends, and wine. Their everyday life shows no iota of religion. 

Additionally, the obvious fact that most of these faceless Nigerians come from a particular region of our country calls for an investigation into the whole matter in a deeper sense. It may be a warning signal to our leaders back home of an uneven distribution of social as well as economic rot, albeit among the "poor". It also baffles me how an average Italian easily falls prey to such flawed and poorly conceived tricks. In summary, we still may be far from having a true understanding why this human aberration continues to persist in the 21st century. It’s important to emphasize that most of the Italians I have met had never had any contact whatsoever with people from northern Nigeria.
Dr. Shamsuddeen Sani,
Novartis Vaccines Academy/Universita degli Studi di Siena,
Il Refugio, Via del Refugio, Siena-53100,

I read with interest the stories of some criminals from Nigeria that exploit either the sincere innocence or the na├»ve nature of Italian lawmakers or both. So-called "human rights" activists like Franco Corbelli who lead such crusades have absolutely little or no idea of the "local customs"  and traditions of Nigerians, neither have they  even traveled to verify the authenticity of such claims. Besides, these Italians brush aside every available information that informs them of contrary views. But my curiosity is directed at WHAT benefits people like Mr. Corbelli get from championing such rib-cracking lies? Is he in collaboration with those that claim they are persecuted to gain some financial rewards? Does he render these services to pays his bills? Is that why she comes across as so gullible, stupid, and illogical?

Can't the Italian Embassy in Nigeria be secretly contacted to verify the tissues of lies those bad eggs churn to them ridiculously? Why can't you and I start making efforts to write the Italian Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, to save the Italian Great Parliament from the embarrassment of those very despicable Nigerians?
Mr. Corbelli must travel down to Nigeria so he can be well informed. If he refuses to come, a very popular corps of the Italian press and members of Parliament should be made to come and be well educated. They need to discover the other side of this so-called "savage and Dark Continent".

Methinks we have a moral obligation to rise to the occasion and help the Corbellis of Italy and other parts of Europe. We must make available all sides and angles of the issue objectively.
Dr Usman Muhammad
University of Abuja

This is disgusting! Her action has brought disgrace to us! That's why whites and others laugh at us. She's a disgrace to the black race!
Sola Aiyetan,
Kate Omoregbe and Franco Corbelli
 No excuse for this kind of self-deprecation, but there are explanations: when someone in Denmark painted a cartoon of Muhammad, innocent people were killed in Nigeria; when a Nigerian won the Miss World contest and the country automatically got the ticket to host the next edition of the competition, innocent souls were lost; immediately after 9/11 some idiots in Nigeria started naming their newborn after Bin Laden; someone’s hand was hacked off in Zamfara for stealing a goat; Boko Haram is out there killing and maiming in the name of ‘death to Western civilization.’ Farooq it is not only Saffiyya Hussien and co., the examples are plenty, they all got worldwide coverage and the situation is only getting worse. This is the reason why the most outlandish stories can sound plausible. The North Country has to take another look at itself.
Anonymous commenter from the UK

I read your update and letter from Italy about Kate Omoregbe. I couldn’t help laughing. As you rightly said, now I understand why 419 scammers get them so easily. Methinks they love to believe we are savages/barbaric/Stone Age people (makes better sense to them). Hope to read more on Saturday.
Tina Hannis

One of the silly-silly lies told by desperate Nigerians that are curiously believed by people who only need to go on the Internet to deflate such lies. And, yes, I know of someone claiming he's being victimized for his sexuality. I don’t who's more stupid: those making up the stories or those willingly believing them. An Edo woman taking advantage of shariah/Islam. Mtcheeeewwwwwwwwwww!
Aliyu O. Musa,

This lady is a drug trafficker and an ex-convict and Italians believe her stupid stories! Dr. Kperogi was right in saying that Italy can start negotiating with Nigeria for the transfer of our criminals to their country. Thanks, Dr. Kperogi, for exposing this. Forget what the stupid Italian Corbelli said about you.
Dr. Aminu Mohammed
Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto

I really appreciate the way you expose those Nigerian criminals in the habit of putting black paint on Nigerian Muslims. May the Almighty protect you from undesirable elements, especially the so-called Western activists. Thank you, sir.
Salisu Kawuwa Suleiman

So oyinbo can be so daft, too? What does it take for them to uncover the lies? Just a click! Don’t we have an embassy in Italy? Or is it the usual Nigerian [official incompetence]? I am highly disappointed and disgusted! This is childish, for real. Allah ya isa.
Mohammed Sani,

This is terrible! Somebody needs to do something about this. The Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, the Jama'atu Nasril Islam, the MSS, etc should, on behalf of Nigerian Muslims, write a strong petition to the Italian Embassy in Nigeria and to the Nigerian President about these ingrates who malign and blackmail Islam and Muslims in Nigeria for their selfish motives. We should not just fold our arms and only hiss, please.
Yusuf Ameen

Related Articles:

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Kate Omoregbe shows Gratitude to Corbelli

Italy’s Curious Love with Nigerian Criminals

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.

My write-up pointing out the outright mendacity in the claims of Kate Omeregbe,the Nigerian asylum seeker in Italy who lied that she had been condemned to death by stoning by a Nigerian Sharia court for refusing to convert to Islam, somehow made it to the Italian national media. Several local and national newspapers and TV stations in Italy liberally quoted the article, which inspired a renewed scrutiny on Omoregbe and her sponsors.

Among the Italian news media that quoted my article extensively are CN 24TV, a local TV station in the region where Omoregbe served her four-year prison term for drug trafficking; Calabria Ora, a local newspaper in the same area; Lamezia Oggi, another regional newspaper; Metro News, one of Italy’s most widely circulated newspapers; and Il Domani, an equally notable newspaper.

My Italian Internet acquaintance whose email message I published here last week told me that my article has “had tremendous impact” and has caused Franco Corbelli, leader of Italy’s Civil Rights Movement that championed Omoregbe’s cause, to be subjected to intense questioning by the Italian news media.
Franco Corbelli
 He shared with me the link to a story on the website of an Italian TV station where Corbelli launched laughably petty personal attacks on me when he was asked to respond to the issues I raised in my article. He called my article “shameful,” “scandalous,” “lies,” a "low blow," and described me as “an unknown self-styled intellectual.”

When he was pushed harder by journalists to respond to the substance of my article, he changed Omoregbe’s story. It is no longer that a Sharia court in Benin City sentenced her to death by stoning for refusing to convert to Islam; it is now that although Omoregbe was born in Benin City, she moved to Sokoto in northwest Nigeria where she was forced to convert to Islam and marry an old man.

In response to my observation that Islam does not have any kind of punishment for people who refuse to convert to the religion, he retorted that the death sentence on Omoregbe was based not on Islamic jurisprudence but on “local customs” in Sokoto—another blatant lie.

Northern Nigerian local customs, which are codified in the Penal Code, have no punishment for refusal to convert to Islam—or to any other religion. What’s more, as my Italian acquaintance aptly observed, the governor of Kate Omoregbe’s native Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, was born a Muslim but converted to Catholicism and he is still alive. Interestingly, for most of his adult life,Oshiomhole lived in Kaduna, a “Sharia state” like Sokoto. If Omoregbe’s story had any credibility, Oshiomhole should have been stoned to death, too, according to "local customs."

The astonishingly unnerving stupidity and gullibility of “activists” like Corbelli is contributing to making Italy an irresistible magnet for all manner Nigerian economic refugees and criminals who fabricate all kinds of wacky, infantile lies to play on the heartstrings of people in authority in Italy. I briefly wrote about a Tina Richard last week who is appealing against the denial of her petition for an asylum in Italy.

To make her case as compelling as Kate Omoregbe’s, she is now telling Italian authorities that her entire Catholic family was wiped out by a powerful Muslim man in Kano (which she misspelled as “Kanu”) because she refused to marry the man. Had she not mysteriously escaped to Italy, she says, she would have been dead, too. Of course, she doesn’t look anything like a Kano woman and, in fact, couldn’t even spell Kano correctly.
Tina Richard
 But Richard’s story has already won a high-profile Italian sucker. On September 22, President of the (Italian) Province of Florence, Andrea Barducci, threw his full weight behind her petition for asylum, saying deporting her to Nigeria "would amount to a death sentence."

Another Nigerian from Edo State identified as Joshua John Paul (obviously a made-up name to appeal to the Catholic sensibilities of Italians) has won a three-year temporary Permit of Stay in Italy after claiming that he is a Catholic homosexual who has been declared wanted by Nigerian sharia courts because he had homosexual relations with a Muslim man in Edo State! He presented a forged, error-ridden police announcement, which purportedly appeared in the Observer, Edo State’s government newspaper, that reads as follows:

"Joshua John Paul comes from the state of Edo in Nigeria, from the Bini tribe, and is coloured. He is involved in cases of sexual molestation (homosexual) with Almed Suleman, whose family belongs to a Muslim tribe. John Paul has perpetrated this behaviour (homosexual) for a long time, causing disorders between the Christian and the Muslim in Nigeria. The police is looking for him. Anyone who has urgent information about him is asked to get in touch with the nearest police station in exchange for a rich reward.

Bashiru Mohammed Soleman.”
"Joshua John Paul" also presented this obviously fake newspaper story to Italian authorities
 Doesn’t this take the cake in rib-tickling hilarity? Who would have thought that any thinking, intelligent person would believe this juvenile, unintelligent fabrication? To start with, Muslims are not a tribe; they are, like Christians, a community of believers who cut across the primordial fault-lines of race and ethnicity.

Second, how can the private homosexual relations between two people (supposing this is true) in just one of Nigeria’s 36 states (which is, in fact, predominantly Christian) have the capacity to “cause disorder between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria”? And which Nigerian Muslim spells Suleiman as “Soleman” and Ahmed as “Almed”? Too many red flags.

Well, “Joshua John Paul” knew only too well that his information didn’t have to be factual or accurate or even sensible. In Italy, it would seem, all you need to do to get an asylum is to claim victimhood of a non-existent Islamic scourge, then assert the irrevocability of your Catholic faith and, viola, you have an Italian asylum! Joshua John Paul, in fact, went beyond that: he also claimed to be gay. So he was able to galvanize the support both of religious organizations and gay rights groups. Some smart criminal!

Since Italians seem love our criminals so much, the Nigerian government should probably make an arrangement to transfer many of the criminals overflowing in our prisons to Italy. Since even President Jonathan was sufficiently frightenedby the threat of Boko Haram to cancel Nigeria’s 51st IndependenceDay celebration, Boko Haram can be invoked as the reason for transferring our criminals to Italy!

Related Articles:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Update and Letter from Italy about Kate Omoregbe

Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
I promised to keep readers updated on the case of the lying Nigerian criminal in Italy by the name of Kate Omoregbe who pleaded with Italian authorities not to deport her to Nigeria after her four-year prison term. She said she’d been condemned to death by stoning or acid bath by a Nigerian sharia court for refusing to convert to Islam and for not agreeing to a forced marriage.

I predicted that in spite of the absurdity of her lies, the Italian parliament might grant her asylum request. I was right. Omoregbe was granted political asylum by the Italian parliament last week. 

Interestingly, shortly after Omoregbe won her plea for asylum, another Nigerian woman, identified as Tina Richard, is telling similar lies to earn asylum in Italy. Her own story is that she hails from a Christian family in “Kanu” (the idiot didn’t even learn to correctly spell the name of the state she claims to be a native of) whose parents were murdered by a powerful citizen of Kano who wanted to marry her.

Italians in positions of authority seem to be great suckers for horrendously ridiculous lies. Who murders the parents of the girl he wants to marry? What does that achieve? A simple Google search would have taught these ignorant Italians that Kano (which is NEVER spelled Kanu) is an over 90 percent Muslim society and that the likelihood of the existence of a Tina Richard in the state is almost zilch. 

Well, if they would believe the claims of a woman from the predominantly Christian Edo State, who claimed she had been condemned to death by stoning for refusing to convert to Islam, they would believe anything.  Any wonder Europeans easily fall victim to 419 scams? Now I understand why 419 scammers call them “mugu,” the Nigerian Pidgin English word for a fool, a chump.

I think Italy and these lying criminals deserve each other. I will write about Tina Richard next week, but early this week I received an email from an Italian blogger who called attention to the inconsistencies and factual inaccuracies of Omoregbe’s claim in Italy. I thought the email was insightful and worthy of being shared with a wider audience. Read it below:

“Dear Farooq,

I discovered your articles about Kate Omoregbe - the Nigerian lady asking for asylum in Italy - almost by chance.

I am - alas - the only person in Italy to have written that this was probably a hoax, and it is a pleasure for me to see that I used more or less the same arguments you did.

I agree with every point you make, and especially your shrewd analysis of the reasons Italians fell for this case.

An episode like this unmasks the Western monologue: Leftists and Rightists, Catholics and atheists, were suddenly united by their shared belief that any place outside the West must be "savage". And they all enjoyed and felt wonderfully noble about having rescued this girl at no cost to themselves.

Kate Omoregbe worked for some time, she says, taking care of elderly women. I have no intention of moralizing, but it does seem strange that she was not living with her "patient", but with three other ladies from Nigeria. I have not been able to track down documentation about her original arrest.
Kate Omoregbe--granted asylum

In prison, she wrote to Franco Corbelli, a picturesque character who launches one-man campaigns for individual cases: I think he is in good faith, but he certainly does not check his facts.

He immediately launched the case, and started moving politicians and the media. The first version of the story was that Kate Omoregbe had been "sentenced by a shariah court" to be "stoned to death" for 1) refusing to convert to Islam and 2) refusing to marry a man older than her.

On my blog, I pointed out that Kate Omoregbe was born in Benin City, in a Catholic family, went to the Catholic school. In Edo State, where the governor is... a Muslim who converted to Catholicism, and has not (yet?) been stoned.

At this point, Franco Corbelli denied what the media was saying, and said he had never spoken of a "sentence by a shariah court", but only of "customs of that country". And said that she had been  "raped and forcibly married by a 60 year old man from Sokoto", and escaped from him "in order not to be forced to convert to Islam". That was fifteen years ago...

So, even if we believe Corbelli, it just means that in far-away Sokoto, there is an angry 75 year old who wants revenge on the girl. 

The media paid no attention to what I pointed out (of course, I am just a blogger...) or even to Corbelli's own correction, and the lies simply went on.

I have known people who were granted asylum in Italy (actually it is "humanitarian protection", which is less than full asylum) after a year waiting; Ms Omoregbe got hers a few hours after leaving the prison.
Feel free to publish this, if you want.

Good luck.

Miguel Martinez (
Florence, Italy

Related Article

Lies Nigerians Tell in Italy in the Name of Sharia