Mr. Osazee Osemwengie-Ero, Edo State former Commissioner for Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs, says his father, Chief Osemwegie Ero, fell into a coma for five days, following report of his arrest and detention in Italy for trumped-up charges on mafia-related offences.
The aide to Governor Godwin Obaseki disclosed this when he visited the Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty Oba Ewuare ll at his palace in Benin City, Edo State to thank him for his prayers and support during his incarceration in Italy two years ago.
He said thankfully God saved him, adding, “When I spoke to him, he told me that His Royal Majesty spoke with him and said His Majesty supported me knowing that I am not a criminal”.
The former Commissioner reiterated the need for increased awareness and collaboration among stakeholders to ensure the release of over 300 Nigerian youths illegally detained in Italian prisons for trumped-up charges on mafia-related offences.
He continued: “I am happy to be here today because I was held in Italian maximum security prison for 18 months for a case I knew nothing about. We have over 300 Nigerians in the same prison for same alleged offence; some are awaiting trial, while others have been sentenced to 9, 10 and even 15 years in prison.
“The corrupt justice system of Italy has convicted innocent Nigerians without the intervention of the Nigerian Government as it’s not taken the issue of Nigerians in Italian prisons seriously”.
Earlier, the Oba of Benin expressed delight over the release of Osazee Osewengie-Ero, adding, “I want to appreciate you and your family for remembering to come to thank the palace for the prayers, but all praises go to the ancestors. We are happy for your family and all those who prayed for you.
“Above all, we all need to be of good behavior; if you were not of good behavior and character, you might not have been able to overcome the challenges. We all need to thank our ancestors. Continue to rejoice as our ancestors have made your freedom and victory possible”, he said.
Chief Ero, is the Edobayokhae of Benin and retired news translator on Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN.