Outrage as Nigerian lady wrongfully jailed in Ivory Coast dies

The death of Itunu Babalola, a Nigerian lady wrongfully jailed in Cote d’Ivoire has led many Nigerians to take to social media to express deep anger over her pathetic story.

According to reports, 21-year-old Babalola from Oyo State was a trader based in Bondoukou, Cote d’Ivoire. Her apartment had been burgled by an Ivorian in September 2019 and she had reported the incident to the police but DPO informed her that the suspect was his nephew. He reportedly offered her a settlement worth roughly N100,000 to drop the case, an amount lesser than the N300,000 worth of stolen effects.

Babalola was subsequently arrested when she refused the settlement, charged to court for human trafficking and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

A journalist, David Hundeyin, had shared the story of Babalola on Twitter in March 2021 and the Nigerians In Diaspora Commission had said it was working to prove the innocence of Babalola.

NIDCOM, headed by Abike Dabiri-Erewa, had confirmed that the lady was charged and incarcerated for a crime she didn’t commit.

“Following painstaking investigations by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission and the Nigeria Mission in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, it is now confirmed that Itunu Babalola, a Nigerian living in Abidjan was wrongfully charged and incarcerated for a crime she did not commit.

“Plans are underway to engage the services of a legal luminary to prove the innocence of Itunu Babalola at the Court of Appeal after the accused had spent two years out of a ten-year jail term for an offence she did not commit,” the commission had promised in a statement.

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“Itunu is dead. She died this night. Just confirmed,” he later tweeted.

His post attracted over 1,100 retweets and over 3,500 comments as of press time, with many berating NIDCOM for allegedly neglecting the lady.

@DavidHundeyin stated, “Nigeria does absolutely nothing for the citizens, especially southerners but expects the citizens to love the country and uphold some magical patriotism. RIP Itunu. So sorry to her family.”

(Punch)

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

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