A Nigerian woman, Joy Jeff, who has been wanted in Italy since 2010 has been flown from Abuja back to Rome where she has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for crimes including running a prostitution ring, according to Italian police on Wednesday.
The 48-year-old was one of the few women on Italy’s most-wanted list, police said in a statement, describing her as a prominent figure in the Nigerian mafia.
According to reports, she employed the use of violence and threats to keep her victims in line.
Joy had been sought after since 2010 for charges of criminal conspiracy, enslavement, trafficking in people, exploitation of prostitution and other offenses. She has been sentenced to 13 years in prison in absentia by the Italian authorities.
The successful extradition was made possible due to the excellent collaboration between both countries, with the Italian Immigration Expert providing support to the local police forces.
The extradition marks a unique event in relation to Italy and Nigeria as it was the first case since the extradition treaty came into power in 2020.
The process started immediately following her arrest on June 4, 2022 in Nigeria by local intelligence departments. Subsequently, on February 10, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, informed Italy’s ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stefano De Leo, that Joy would be handed over.
This event serves as critical evidence for how Africa is becoming an influential area for searching fugitives and fighting against organised crime.
It also proves that Italy is determined to take control at an international level by creating penal and administrative processes to track down Mafia assets for confiscation.
The police force’s central director Vittorio Rizzi also expressed his enthusiasm for this development.
“Today, Africa is confirmed as a strategic area for the search for fugitives and the fight against organised crime. Developing African countries also represent elective places for the laundering of the illicit capital of organised crime and Italy is committed at an international level to facilitate, through penal and administrative instruments, the tracing of the illicit assets of the mafias for their seizure and confiscation,” Italian news media, agenzianova, quoted the European country’s Deputy Director General of the Department of Public Security and Central Director of Criminal Police, Vittorio Rizzi, as saying.