As StreetNet International, a global alliance of organizations of street vendors fighting for decent work free of harassment and violence, we are horrified with the murder of Comrade. Alika Ogorchukwu and demand that the perpetrator be brought to justice!
On 29 July, 2022 afternoon a street vendor of Nigerian nationality, Alika Ogorchukwu (39 years old), was murdered in broad daylight in the Italian town of Civitanova Marche. The killer, a 32-year old man, beated him up under the gaze of the bystanders, none of whom did anything to save Comrade Ogorchukwu’s life. They merely watched the scene and recorded it with their smartphones. Comrade Ogorchukwu was trying to conduct his small business peacefully, in the streets of Civitanova. He was met with horrific violence and indifference.
Comrade. Ogorchukwu had become a street vendor after he was forced to leave his job as a result of an injury. The situation is common to many informal economy workers, who resort to informality after losing access to formal employment. Comrade Ogorchukwu was disabled and used crutches to walk. He had been living in Italy for many years and left behind a wife and a loving family.
It shouldn’t be ignored that the crime has a strong racist context behind it, even if the killer denies any racial or xenophobic motivation. The killer acted out of the feeling of impunity that many perpetrators of violence believe to be entitled to when exerting violence against migrants and black people in Europe.
Italy is not new to racist and xenophobic violence. In 2018, in Macerata, not far from Civitanova Marche, a white supremacist – named Luca Traini – opened the fire against a group of migrant people, all originaries from sub-saharian Africa. None of them died, out of sheer luck, but many were injured. Right after the 2018 election, Idy Diene, a street vendor from Florence was shot to death in front of his house.
Marginalized groups, such as migrant informal economy workers, are paying the highest price for the rise of extreme right political figures in polls, power and popularity, not only in Italy but in all of the European continent.
We express our solidarity with the family, friends and community of Brother Ogorchukwu. We highlight that it is a manifestation of systemic racism, indifference and mounting violence against the most vulnerable people in our societies, many of which are forced to turn to street vending and the informal economy in general to survive and feed their families.
What can we do to help at the moment?
It is possible to make a donation to help the widow of Comrade. Ogorchukwu. Here are the bank details (divulged under the authorisation of the family lawyer) at this link: https://www.ansa.it/marche/notizie/2022/07/31/ambulante-uccisoun-aiuto-per-charity-al-via-una-raccolta-fondi_fbf7e43f-aea1-4afd-8b80-a15709977c5c.html