MILAN – A Nigerian-born man elected senator for Italy's anti-migrant League is shrugging off criticism from Italian football player Mario Balotelli for representing a party long viewed as xenophobic.
Tony Iwobi became Italy's first black senator in Sunday's parliamentary vote. Balotelli, who has been taunted for his race in Italian stadiums, commented on Instagram, "Maybe I am blind, or maybe no one told him he's black. But shame!!!"
Iwobi told Capital Radio that he was ignoring Balotelli's criticism, saying "I have had enough of polemics."
Iwobi has been in charge of the Lega's immigration policy since 2015. He told La Stampa Thursday that "Italy needs to eliminate humanitarian protection," and only accept "true asylum-seekers." Iwobi arrived in Italy with a visa in 1976, and joined the Northern League 24 years ago.