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Nigerian woman declared ‘most wanted’ in Italy

A Nigerian woman, Joy Jeff, 48, has been flown from Abuja back to Rome, Italy, where she has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for crimes, including running a prostitution ring.

Italian Police said in a statement on Wednesday that Ms Jeff has been wanted in the country since 2010.

The police statement also described her as one of the few women on Italy’s most-wanted list, and a “prominent figure in the Nigerian mafia”.

Ms Jeff’s extradition was facilitated by a treaty signed between Nigeria and Italy in 2020.

She was arrested in Nigeria on June 4, 2022, on an international warrant issued by the Italian authorities, the statement said.

Investigators in the eastern Italian city of Ancona say Ms Jeff played a leading role in trafficking women to Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, where they were forced into prostitution by “violence and threats”.

Italian police showed videos of Ms Jeff, who was convicted in absentia, as she was being flown from the Nigerian capital, Abuja, to Ciampino airport in Rome, where she was taken away in a wheelchair by police.

According to Vittorio Rizzi, an Italian police chief responsible for international coordination, “Africa today is a strategic location when looking for fugitives and fighting organised crime.”

Writing by Fany Olumoye; Editing by Julian Osamoto and Tony Okerafor