06 October 2009

Repatriated to Italy. Edward and the ping-pong game between Italy and Ghana

One to one. A strange game of ping pong is being played in recent months between Ghana and Italy. Because bouncing from one side to another is a man. A certain A. Edward, first expelled from Italy to Ghana. And then from Ghana to Italy, awaiting the next move. A. Edward, a resident of Valle Martella, a village in the municipality of Zagarolo in the province of Rome, was stopped last June 18. The police went to pick him up at his home, and finding him undocumented, took him to the CIE (Centre for Identification and Expulsion) of Ponte Galeria, Rome. He has been inside for 110 days. He’d been working in a dairy in Monterotondo, which was closed on August 3 by the police department for the protection of health (NAS) due to commercial fraud and failure to meet hygiene and sanitation standards. He’s been living in Italy for 18 years. He received his residence permit during an amnesty when he was in Caserta. He claims to be a citizen of Ghana, even though the police claim that actually he has dual nationality, Ghanaian and Nigerian. The fact is that last September 17 when he boarded the plane scheduled to land in Accra, Ghana, escorted by two Italian policemen, the border police at the Ghanaian airport returned him to sender, in Italy, on the next plane . And this even though he had been identified as a citizen of Ghana by the Ghanaian embassy in Rome.

And what happens now? The police are trying the Nigerian route, hoping repatriate him to Lagos. But the Nigerian Embassy official who saw him told him clearly: "You are not Nigerian". And in fact the charter flight to Nigeria two weeks ago left without letting him on board. The most likely thing is that he’ll end up spending the last two months of detention that he’s still has to serve and then he’ll be free. Actually, he’ll be forced to go ‘underground’. This also happens in Italy: you do not have the right cards to stay in our country, but neither those necessary to be expelled.


translated by Camilla Gamba