Nigerian Mafia, Italy, land of conquest: 1700 arrests this year


(Translated by Google)

The structural model of organized crime in Nigeria is formed by independent autonomous groups dependent on a single summit. National leaders, local leaders, a top-down structure and a change of roles, these are the common elements among the Brotherhoods, each of which has its own turnover and its own nicknames.

The handcuffs were taken for more than 20 people yesterday, Thursday 17 October in Ferrara following an anti-drug operation against a band of Nigerians for dealing in cocaine, heroin and marijuana, writes Adnkronos . Thus the provisional budget is over 1700 arrests from the beginning of 2019 with the prospect, according to the current trend of exceeding the numbers of 2018. Last year the arrests were 2144. Today the Nigerian organization manages to cover the whole Italian territory with rising profits. From the papers of the inquiry Athenaeum in Turin and of which Repubblica  spoke, it was learned that the chief – called don – of the Maphitehe was entitled to a fixed sum of 35 thousand euros every three months; the deputy don – the vice – took 17,000; the chief 0 – the lieutenant – managed to get his hands, in the same period, on 11,000 euros; from the chief 1 to  chief 5, the loot was 9 thousand euros, again every three months. And that was also the basic ‘pay’ of other minor figures.

Ancient methods of transferring money 

But how does money get to Africa? National leaders, local leaders, a top-down structure and a change of roles are the common elements among the brotherhoods, each of which has its own business and its own nicknames. But how do they control and transfer the money raised from their activities?

The most widely used system at the moment is hawala –  as explained by a DIA analyst in an interview with the newspaper – which is a trustee. The passage of money via hawala appears identical to that of a money transfer. The difference for the hawala is all in who moves the money and in the commission applied. The hawala is definitely more convenient. The hawaladars, the bankers, are people with so much money available on which to transfer their debt. It is they who anticipate and circulate money. They anticipate the money on behalf of others: the debts and credits between hawaladar, the one from the country of departure of the money and the one of arrival, will be paid at a later time, following hundreds of operations. Trust is the basis of this method which seems to be, among other things, very efficient.

4 models for practicing crime worldwide

Infiltration in the territory, flexibility, profits and logistic capacity and various levels. At this point, according to the investigators, it can be presumed that the characteristics of the criminal organizations present in Nigeria will soon become a constant of the groups operating in the Italian territory. According to a study carried out by Cesi – Center for international studies – analysis of the behavior of organized crime in Africa, it allowed the identification of four operational models used for criminal activity:

The first operational model is similar to the mafia-type criminal organizations active in Europe and Asia. In this case, criminal associations can be defined as authentic “mafias” because they are characterized by secrecy, unity, verticality, initiation rites, family structure or clans and territorial control. These organizations systematically resort to violence for intimidating purposes and to impose their power in the nerve centers of the illegal economy. The second model is formed by free connections; they are not closed hierarchical structures and recognizable as happens for the mafia model. They are activities carried out by individuals who have differentiated licit and illicit occupations. For example, drug trafficking on the eastern and western coasts of Africa is conducted through “criminal entrepreneurs” who use their own logistic networks, generally used for legal activities, in order to smuggle illegal goods. The greatest danger of this operating system lies in the mixture of underworld and politics – in the ability of some administrators to use illegal revenues to co-opt popular consent – pushing the population to consider criminal activities legitimate as bearers of works with positive social impact. It is the case ofEric Amoateng , Ghanaian politician, arrested in 2005 in the United States for drug trafficking. At the news of his arrest the discontent in his country was strong. In 2011, tribal leaders publicly thanked him for the work he had done: he had financed the construction of new roads, guaranteed salaries and loans without interest.

The third model expands the actors of the criminal network to rebel organizations and irregular armed groups. This model develops mainly in unstable areas. There is evidence of ongoing negotiations between jihadist commanders and criminal leaders. In this context, in some cases elements of the Armed Forces and security, in breach of their professional ethics, behave like rebel militias and jihadist brigades, offering servants armed escort or demanding passage rights to illegal goods convoys. Niger and Mali are key countries for both drug trafficking and migrant trafficking. The Anti-Mafia Investigation Directorate in its latest semi-annual report writes that the Nigerian Mafia is “in constant contact with the mother country, which must be monitored to prevent contamination by pro-Islamic extremist expressions in Nigeria, where Boko Haram continues to spread “. According to the DIA, keeping national penitentiaries under control is the basis for preventing the phenomenon from undergoing radicalization.

The fourth model of organized crime is that relating to illegal activities perpetrated on the Internet. This is a deconstructed model par excellence, as the evidentiary material and the investigations carried out so far by the national African and international authorities have shown that computer crimes – scams, fraudulent money transfers – are committed by isolated individuals or small networks with low levels of coordination.


Source: Adnkronos, Cesi, Bbc, Anti-Mafia Investigation Directorate, Il Quotidiano

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