Richard Ginika Izuora
Nigeria has demanded from government of Côte Divoire, to carry out a full autopsy to determine the true cause of sudden and mysterious death of Ìtùnú Babalola, a Nigerian, sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in that country for alleged human trafficking.
Chairman Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, made the demand on behalf of Nigerian government after Itunnu’s case was drawn to the attention of NIDCOM about five months ago.
Dabiri-Erewa,described the 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 ,
“Unfortunately, Itunnu died abruptly while all hands were on deck to seek both legal and diplomatic intervention for her by Nigeria.
Itunnu was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for an offence she did not apparently commit.
Itunnu had accused an Ivorian of robbery at her residence and insisted on filing a case against him.
The accused who happens to be related to an Ivorian Police man, asked her to drop the case, but she refused.
Itunnu went ahead to file charges against him and allegedly used a different name ( not her real name ) to file the case and somehow a case of robbery which she filed mysteriously turned to a case of human trafficking against her.
She was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment while the Nigerian Mission in Cote Divoire supported by the Nigerian community, got her a lawyer, paid part payment of legal fees for the lawyer, to appeal the judgment , while at the same time seeking diplomatic intervention from the Nigeria Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The staff of the Nigeria 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 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”, NIDCOM assured.