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Gruesome murder of disabled Nigerian vendor in Italy sparks off literary competition

The murder of a physically challenged Nigerian vendor, Alika Ogorchukwu, in Rome, Italy, last year, may have turned into a blessing in disguise for creative writers as a literary competition instituted to immortalise him has produced three creative writers.
Ogorchukwu Alika, a 39-year old disabled Nigerian vendor, met his untimely death on July 29, 2022, while in the street of Civitanova Marche, North of Italy, when one Philipe Ferlazzo allegedly walked up to him, seized his crutches and used same to beat him to death.

His gruesome murder was said to have sparked off reactions, leading to the arrest and detention of Ferlazzo, who is billed to appear in court on April 5 this year.

Many had seen the vendor as a true case of ability in disability as he hawked daily newspapers as his means of fending for himself and family until he was brutally murdered.

Angered by the incident, thousands of Nigerians and other Africans residing in Rome embarked on peaceful protests across the streets to demand for justice.
However, while the search for justice for family of the bereaved lingers, a literary competition instituted to immortalise him by Nigeria’s Head of Consular and Immigration Services in Rome, Ugochukwu Onuzulike, was concluded last week with three writers winning prizes.

The global poetry competition, which was also aimed at promoting peace and tolerance among peoples of different races, was tagged, ‘Alika Ogorchukwu 2023 International Poetry Competition,’ with the theme, ‘Life, Humanity, Love and Racial Harmony,’ saw Gordon Egeonu winning the first prize of 1,000 euros and a plaque.

Egeonu’s script titled, ‘The Street Vendors Farewell,’ won the competition. Peculiar Obi won the second prize of 400 euros and a plaque. Her work was titled, ‘Hearts of Pure Red,’ while the third prize of 200 euros and a plaque went to Ekpensi NwaJesu with poem titled, ‘Breaking Down Colored Walls.’

The literary competition drew participants across the globe. Most of the poems were anchored as tributes and eulogies in honour of late Ogorchukwu.
Onuzulike, who sponsored the competition, explained that there were over 50 poem entries, adding that the poems would be published in an anthology.

Guardian online

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