A Nigerian-born Italian and current Federal Head of Security and Immigration of LEGA NORD PADANIA (Party), Italy, Mr. Toni Iwobi, is set to become the country’s next Minister of Defence and Immigration, if the party does well in the impending elections, as predicted by credible polls.
Iwobi, a Nigerian residing in Italy for over 38 years, and a member of an Italian political right wing conservative party for over 21 years stated this on Thursday in Abuja during a press conference organised to advocate his party’s urgent call for a solution to illegal migrants from Africa.
“My party has ruled Italy in the past in alliance with other parties in different Times. Today, we are one of the major Italian important parties in the country and I was recently appointed as the Federal Head of Security and Immigration of the party by the European parliamentarian and the National Chairman of my party: LEGA NORD PADANIA, Italy, Mr. Matteo Salvini”, he said.
“We are also looking on future Immigration regulations and to create further commercial, trade and industrial opportunities between some imminent Italian businessmen, industrialists and their Nigerian counterparts for our respective people of Nigeria and Italy”, he said.
Iwobi noted that the challenge posed by illegal immigrants who arrive from Africa had raised serious debates in Italy and Europe, which his party was leading the way towards seeking solution based on partnership with African countries including Nigeria.
He lamented that Nigerians travelling to Europe using illegal routes and illegitimate means “face series of dangers both in the Libyan desert towards the Mediterranean boarders and from the same boarders to European countries mainly through Italy”.
Statistically, Iwobi said, “as at November 2014, we are counting up to 3000 illegal immigrants that lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea and approximately 2000 those that lost their lives in the desert before getting to the border.
“Out of these, more than150, 000 illegal immigrants entered the country through this dangerous route.
“We therefore, want to awaken our people’s awareness by inviting them to travel to other countries, mostly to the European countries, Italy in particular through the right and appropriate channels avoiding thereby dangers and unnecessary inconveniences.
“We are here also and mainly, to discuss them in a civil political debate with our solutions on the issues which is based on a mutual Commercial, Trade and Industrial impact and collaborations between the two nations in other to enhance a reciprocal developments and well being of our citizens in respect to human lives and Security”.
Speaking also, the Chief of Staff to Iwobi, Mr. Olajide Ogodan, said that most of the African illegal migrants were as at today, stranded in Italy or begging in different parts of Europe because there was no job even for the Europeans.
“While we don’t want to discourage our people from traveling but we would rather advise them to stay at home, where it is more secured.
“These 150,000 illegal immigrants in Italy today have no future, as there are no jobs even for the Italians. The issue is that after they have arrived in Italy, they are ashamed to return back because of lack and would rather stay back in the streets begging but for how long”, he asked.
Earlier, an elder statesman, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite lauded the achievement of Iwobi who he said “has become a stalwart of his party, contested election on its platform and now occupies office of the Secretary for Defense and Immigration of that Political Party”.
Braithwaite said that this was not a major commendable development “from our perspective as Nigerian brethren but a positive change in the Italian political landscape.
“It is in that context that he comes to Nigeria to begin a program involving education, information and economic proposals targeted at mobilizing support, from Nigerian governments, civil society and general citizenry, for his party’s (and by extension the Italian government’s) immigration policies especially in this time of growing racial and religious intolerance around the world, even in Europe”