Animal rights activists in southern Italy are aghast over attempts by a migrant who attempted to barbecue a dog at an immigrant welcome center and contended that the practice is normal in Nigeria. The incident highlights the cultural challenges faced by Italians due to the influx of thousands of migrants.

Immediately after receiving a call from an employee of the center in Vibo Valentia in the Italian region of Calabria who had witnessed a 29-year-old Nigerian man intent on cooking a dog, members of the Carabinieri, an Italian military police force, intervened.

The police arrived after the migrant had skinned and cut up the dog, and was in the process of grilling it for himself and his friends. The officers prohibited him from cooking the dog.

The migrant defended himself by explaining that such a practice was “normal” where he came from. He also claimed that he did not kill the animal, but found it dead by the side of the road. Italian law forbids eating dogs and cats, but the migrant pleaded ignorance of the prohibition.

Following the incident, the migrant was transferred to a different welcome center, located in the former Hotel Miragolfo in the nearby town of Nicotera.

According to Breitbart, Nigeria accounts for the largest single group of migrants currently entering Italy, with nearly twice as many (15.7 percent) Nigerians entering Italy during 2017 as those from Guinea, the second largest immigrant group by country of origin (8.4 percent).

Nigeria has received plenty of local media attention in Italy recently, with the emergence of a “ruthless” Nigerian mafia and the violent murder and dismemberment of an 18-year-old Italian girl, Pamela Mastropietro, allegedly by three Nigerian migrants.

Earlier in February, Mastropietro’s dismembered corpse was discovered in two suitcases outside the town of Macerata in central Italy. Mastropietro’s neck was missing, as were her heart and genitals, and her body had been deboned and washed in bleach.

A prominent Italian criminologist recognized the modus operandi in the case.

“What we have seen in the case of Pamela are the same methods the Nigerian mafia systematically employs in Nigeria and elsewhere,” Meluzzi said. “It is a routine to cut victims into pieces and, in some cases, to eat parts of their bodies.”

Italians are also concerned by the reported 80 percent of female Nigerian migrants who enter into prostitution, by choice or coercion, and become controlled by the Nigerian mafia. Approximately half of the prostitutes currently working in Italy are Nigerians.

Breitbart reported, “Nigerian traffickers have exploited Europe’s migrant crisis to traffic girls across the Mediterranean to Italy to force into prostitution. From 2014-2016, more than 12,000 Nigerian girls and young women arrived in Italy, and of these, some 9,400 wound up as sex workers.”