Here is the tragic story of a Nigerian engineer Ogochukwu Efeizomor, in search of shelter in Italy, but who at the moment lives by pleading on the roads of an Italian town
According to NTA news, three or four days a week, Ogochukwu Efeizomor takes a train from Lecco, a lakeside town where he stays in a centre for migrants, to Italy’s financial capital, Milan.
He has long established on a precise corner, close a coffee bar and a garage, round a 20-minute walk after the station. He stands with a creamy wool cap to ask passers-by for change – constantly with a smile, constantly a “buon giorno,” never claiming too much.
The change, food and occasionally wears that people bring him supplement the meals and the 2.50 euros a day he obtains from the centre. Sometimes he even gets a 10- or 20-euro bill.
Efeizomor said his health complications began after a fellow citizen in his community in southern Nigeria poisoned him. In short order, he suffered acute appendicitis, difficulties with the mammary glands, kidney problems and dental problems.
He still has two injuries on his hands from where he says a cultist who wanted to initiate him into a secret society scorched his hands, “which left me an eternal mark.”
He decided to leave Nigeria in 2016, to reaching Libya and then embarking a smugglers’ ship on the way to Italy.
In Italy, he has had three operations, two on the stomach and single on the mammary glands.
Now, he is waiting for his refuge request to be treated, looking for intercontinental security built on human rights defilements suffered in his native country. He studies Italian some days, and others he panhandles, standing on his chosen corner from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., before returning to Lecco on the train.
“Here I meet a lot of different types of individuals, residing on the street. There are numerous so good, good and responsive, so compliant. There are people that disgust you, they don’t like you, and they are not associate. So once you come in contact with those people, they can make you feel bad. But the majority of the people are nice,” he says.
Since Italy’s new majority government took office this spiral, xenophobic incidents against migrants and other foreigners appear to be on the increase.
One day recently, a cyclist veered toward Efeizomor, spraying him with mucus from his nose as he passed. Occasionally passers-by call him “Marrocchino,” ambiguously abusive moniker used commonly for North Africans. Efeizomor wishes to focus on the kind people.
“Italy has always been my vision,” he says. “To live with new nationalities.”