The family of RitaAmenze, the woman murdered in cold-blood in Italy by her Italian husband because she reportedly filed for divorce after returning from Nigeria where she allegedly got married to the father of her three children, have debunked the claim. Father of the children, Frank Akpoguma, and mother of the deceased, Faith Oyahiagbon, said there was no truth in the allegation, and challenged anyone with proof to provide it.
Amenze was on September 10, 2021 shot at close range at her work place by her husband, Pierangelo Pellizar, 61, for reportedly filing for divorce barely two weeks after she returned to Italy from Nigeria.
Amenze’s grieving family is therefore demanding justice, appealing to both the Federal Government of Nigeria, and the Italian Government to ensure that justice was served in the case. Members of the family made the call on Tuesday in Benin, Edo State, when a delegation of the Edo National Association in Italy, (ENAI) and the National Union of Nigerian Associations in Italy, (NUNAI) paid them a condolence visit.
The delegation, led by Pastor Mike Oputteh, the Welfare Officer of NUNAI, arrived the family house of the late 31-year-old Amenze, to meet her three children out of school for failure to pay their school fees.
The inconsolable mother of the deceased lamented that she had lost her only hope and breadwinner. Oyahiagbon said she had developed a high blood pressure since the news of the death of her first born was broken to her two weeks ago. She regretted that the children she left behind were little, and there was nobody to take care of them again.
Bemoaning her loss, while weeping profusely, she said “Rita was my daughter; and my first born for that matter. She was all I had. She came home recently to see the children and we were all joyous. She had been in Italy for long just to seek a greener pasture. Celebrate, her last child, was six months old when she left her for me for upbringing. We also departed joyously while she was returning only to receive the bad news about two weeks later that she was shot dead.
“But I didn’t believe this until now that you all came. This looks like a film to me because how could I believe that a daughter that meant everything to me is dead”. Oyahiagbon, however appealed to the Nigerian mission in Italy, and Nigerian Unions there to help the family to get justice for the sake of the children.
“So I want appeal to all concerned authorities, for the sake of the children she left behind, to please help us seek justice. Rita was my leg; she was my life; she was my hope and she was my everything. She even promised me a lot of things when she saw my condition. She promised to change her children’s school,” she said.
Refuting the claim that Amenze came home to marry, she challenged whoever that had evidence to come forth with it. She explained that though she bore three children, she never married the man responsible for those children.
Corroborating her position, father of the children, said he never married the deceased, but they only had children together.
According to Akpoguma, “We didn’t marry, either registry or traditional. Yes, we had children; there was nothing like marriage between us. I have my wife, (pointing to a woman beside him) and we are happily married. But Rita has been the source of survival for these children. She cared and catered for their upbringing and paid their school fees. I really wish to appeal to the Federal Government, National Assembly, and the Association of Nigerians in Italy that just came, that we want justice.
“As you can see that the children are too small, they need support so that we can care and cater for the children. I use this medium to appeal to everybody – Nigerian government, Italian government, and Nigerian Ambassador to Italy, as well as Civil Rights Organisations, to help because she died because of these children. She was planning to take them abroad before her life was cut short by an Italian man”.
Oputteh, leader of the delegation, had earlier assured that the associations would partner the Nigerian mission to ensure justice was served in the case, more importantly, for the prosperity of the children. He said the delegation was in Nigeria to get the true position of things, particularly as regards a claim that Rita came to Nigeria in August to marry, which the family has refuted. The welfare officer donated, on behalf of the associations, a sum of N50,000 to the family to pay the children’s school fees.