A Nigerian woman who has been wanted in Italy since 2010 has been flown from Abuja back to Rome, Italian police said in a statement on Wednesday, March 8, 2023.
Joy Jeff, 48, was tried in absentia in 2010 and sentenced to 13 years in jail for criminal conspiracy, slavery, people trafficking and living off proceeds of prostitution.
The fugitive was one of the few women on Italy’s most-wanted list, police said in the statement, describing her as a prominent figure in the Nigerian mafia.
The extradition was facilitated by a treaty signed by Nigeria and Italy in 2020. She was arrested in Nigeria on June 4, 2022, on an international warrant issued by Italy, the statement said.
Italian investigators in the eastern city of Ancona said Jeff played a leading role in trafficking women to Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, where they were forced into prostitution by violence and threats. She has been convicted in her absence.
Video released by the Italian police showed the woman being flown from the Nigerian capital Abuja to Ciampino airport in Rome where she was taken away in a wheelchair by police.
“The criminal is one of the few women included in the list of 100 dangerous fugitives, drawn up by the integrated joint group for the search for fugitives of the Central Directorate of the Criminal Police,” the Italian police stated.
“This extradition represents the first provision under the extradition treaty between Italy and Nigeria, signed in 2020, and was possible thanks to the joint work of the Nigerian judiciary, the Italian ambassador in Nigeria and the Italian Ministry of Justice.
“Following an investigation by officials of the International Police Cooperation Service (SCIP) in the African country and the issuance of a red notice in 2010, the Department of State Services (DSS), the Nigerian intelligence service, managed to track down and arrest the woman on June 4, 2022, thanks also to the collaboration between the Italian immigration expert in Nigeria and the local police forces.”
“The statement quoted Vittorio Rizzi, deputy chief of police, as saying, “Today Africa is confirmed as a strategic area for the search for fugitives and the fight against organized 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 confiscate.”