FG demands investigation into death of Nigerian in Ivorian prison



The Federal Government has demanded full autopsy on the sudden and mysterious death of Itunu Babalola, a Nigerian serving a 20- year imprisonment in Côte D’ivoire for alleged human trafficking.


Babalola died in the hospital on Sunday from complications from diabetes.


The Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, described her death as a tragic blow “at a time the Nigerian mission in Côte Divoire had paid and engaged the services of a lawyer to handle Itunnu’s appeal case.”


The NiDCOM boss in a statement on Monday, by the commission’s Head of Media, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, titled, ‘Death of a Nigerian in Cote D’ivoire: FG demands full investigation,’ lamented that Babalola passed away abruptly while efforts were ongoing to seek both legal and diplomatic intervention for her.


Wrongful detention: Nigerian lady died in Ivorian prison


The deceased had accused an Ivorian of robbery at her residence and insisted on filing a case against him.


The accused, who happened to be related to an Ivorian policeman, reportedly asked her to drop the case, but she refused.


She went ahead to file charges against him and allegedly used a different name to file the case and somehow, a case of robbery which she filed mysteriously turned to a case of human trafficking against her.

NiDCOM said the Nigerian mission in Cote Divoire supported by the Nigerian community, got her a lawyer, paid part of the legal fees for the lawyer to appeal the judgment, while seeking diplomatic intervention from the Nigeria Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


The commission stated, “The staff of the Nigerian mission had also visited Itunu in prison, a distance of over four hours from Abidjan.


“While the appeal case was on, Itunu was said to have developed complications from diabetes and was rushed to the hospital.


“The fees for the treatment was paid by the Nigerian mission through the lawyer whose services were engaged by the mission; unfortunately, she died suddenly after a few days of admission at the hospital.


“Her death, will, however, not stop the appeal in court in order to vindicate her of the charges against her”, the NiDCOM boss assured.

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