The Nigerian Government has demanded for full autopsy on the sudden death of Ìtùnú Babalola, a Nigerian sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in Côte Divoire, for alleged human trafficking.
In a statement signed by Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), and released by the Commission’s Head of Media, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, Itunnu’s case was drawn to the attention of NIDCOM about five months ago.
Dabiri-Erewa described the death of Itunnu 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, she 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.”
According to the statement, the victim was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment while the Nigerian mission in Cote D’ivoire 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, 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”, Dabiri-Erewa said.
According to a twitter user @MsNemah, Itunnu Babalola Also known as Becky Paul on Thursday 11, Nov. 2021 had a high level of undiagnosed blood sugar which led her to a diabetic shock.
“The doctors were confident she was going to pull through on Sunday because she was responding to treatment, however, she slipped into a coma yesterday and passed on.”
“Miss Itunnu’s case was waiting to be heard by the appeal court. In Côte d’Ivoire, the juridical system is swift when sentencing people but not as quick getting them out. (possibly due to fewer appeal courts).”
“Some members of the Nigerian community with knowledge of the Embassy had raised money for a lawyer who had been on the case for about six months plus.”
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