Sunday, December 5, 2021

Nigeria demands investigation into death of citizen wrongly jailed in Ivorian prison

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Rayyan Alhassan
Rayyan Alhassan is a graduate of Journalism and Mass Communication at Sikkim Manipal University, Ghana. He is the acting Managing Editor at the Daily Nigerian newspaper, a position he has held for the past 3 years. He can be reached via [email protected], or, or @Rayyan88 on Twitter.
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The Nigerian 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.

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

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.

A statement by Rahman Balogun, the spokesman for the chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said the federal government demands full investigation into the death.

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She said Ms Babalola’s death was tragic “at a time the Nigerian mission in Côte Divoire had paid and engaged the services of a lawyer to handle Itunnu’s appeal case.”

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 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.

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“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 added.

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