Nigerian lady who died in Ivorian prison reported her plight after two years in jail – Dabiri-Erewa

The Chairperson, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has said that the Nigerian lady, Itunu Babalola, who died in an Ivorian prison, had spent two years in jail before she reported her plight to the Nigerian Commission in Ivory Coast.

Dabiri-Erewa said this during an interview on The Morning Show programme of Arise TV.

She said, “She did not inform the mission about the trial. She had spent two years in jail, then her father cried out for help. Perhaps, when she had issues with the burglar and policeman that was changing the case and reported to the Mission, maybe it would have been a different story.”

The former member of the House of Representatives, however, stated that the Nigerian Ambassador to Ivory Coast, Martin Adamu, immediately swung into action after the matter came to his knowledge, adding that the Ivorian prosecutor said the victim should not be in jail.

She said, “But as soon as the ambassador got to know about it they immediately took action. First, they went to see her when she was in prison, somewhere outside Abidjan and got a lawyer. They also got money together for the lawyer to even begin the case. And the money was raised within the Nigerian community and the Nigerian Mission quickly. The lawyer gave an assurance that it was a case for an appeal. In fact, the prosecutor made it clear that the girl (Itunu) shouldn’t be in jail.”

WITHIN NIGERIA had reported that Babalola, who was wrongfully incarcerated in Cote D’lvoire, died on Sunday, 14 November, in prison after she contracted an infection which led to her death.

The 21-year-old from Oyo State was a trader based in Bondoukou, Cote d’Ivoire before her apartment was burgled by an Ivorian in September 2019. She landed in jail after refusing a settlement from an Ivorian police officer on the burgled items.

Dabiri-Erewa added that the deceased was not involved in human trafficking despite using the name ‘Becky Paul’ while in Ivory Coast.

She said, “We wouldn’t know because she is dead now, maybe she was afraid. But whatever the case, she was not involved in human trafficking.”


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