I rescued Nigerian prostitutes in Italy – Taribo West

Former Super Eagles player Taribo West says he used his Milan-based church Shelter in The Storm Miracle Ministries of All Nations to provide shelter for homeless immigrants and prostitutes in Italy during his playing days in Milan.

West played for Inter Milan and AC Milan between 1997 and 2001 and was famed for his uncommon and colourful hairstyles.

He told PUNCH in an interview that his church took note of the fact that Nigerian women are lured to Italy and other parts of Europe and made to work as prostitutes after promises of a better life.

“I used my church while I was in Milan to help the homeless and Nigerians who were taken to Italy all in the name of prostitution,” West said.

“God told us to use whatever we generated from our personal income to upgrade the standard and living of the less privileged, especially those that the society had written off because living in Europe is not easy, it’s like a land of economic refugees.

“We had a lot of immigrants coming in almost every day to the church; most of them didn’t have places to stay, some didn’t have documents to assimilate them into the society.

“What we did was after delivering them, we gave them a place to stay and from there we looked for jobs for them and we helped them procure documents as well. It was very tough for me, because I spent a lot of money. But it was historical in the Italian nation.

“It’s not like Africa, especially Nigeria, where laws don’t work. There (Italy), you have to go through a legal process, which will justify if everything is correct, then I paid taxes, so I could get everything; my personality also helped. So, we did so much to give a lot of people life.

“But the system here (Nigeria) doesn’t work that way. Over there, you can work with the system and get a loan. So, they got loans, some bought cars and houses and they became free. I still keep in touch with a lot of these people that were saved and redeemed.”

The 46-year-old made 42 appearances for the Super Eagles, making the team that won gold at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, USA.