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‘Itunu will be vindicated’ — reps vow to probe death of Nigerian lady in Côte d’Ivoire prison

‘Itunu will be vindicated’ — reps vow to probe death of Nigerian lady in Côte d’Ivoire prison
December 11
11:32 2021

The house of representatives says it will unravel the circumstances surrounding the demise of Itunu Babalola, the Nigerian lady who died in Côte D’Ivoire prison.

Speaking in Ibadan, Oyo state capital, on Friday, Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, chairman, house of representatives committee on diaspora affairs, said the Ivorian ambassador to Nigeria has been mandated to urgently look into the “wrongful incarceration” of Itunu, which led to her death.

In a statement signed by Olamilekan Olusada, the lawmaker’s spokesperson, Akande-Sadipe had paid a condolence visit to the parents of the deceased, where she stated that the committee on diaspora is not satisfied with the result of the autopsy carried out in Cote d’Ivoire. She assured that a coroner’s inquest will be conducted into the Nigerian’s death.

Akande-Sadipe also reiterated that the lower chamber is always committed to the safety of Nigerians in the diaspora and will not rest until it gets justice for Itunu.

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“Itunu will be vindicated and her name will be cleared. It is not going to stop here, I promise,” she said.

Emmanuel Babalola, the father of the deceased, said the family wants a thorough investigation into the cause of his daughter’s death. He said Itunu was victimised in prison and appealed to the federal government to wade into the matter urgently.

HOW DID ITUNU LAND IN IVORIAN JAIL?

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Itunu reportedly got entangled in a legal battle when she reported to the police that her house in Bondoukou, Cote d’Ivoire, had been burgled.

She was said to have been charged to court and the prosecutor in collaboration with the police allegedly compromised the case and accused her of human trafficking.

On March 14, David Hundeyin, a journalist, had posted Itunu’s story on Twitter. The post went viral and eventually gained the attention of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM).

Itunu was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. The sentence was later reduced to 10 years.

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Abike Dabiri-Erewa, NIDCOM chairman, at the time, had said the agency was doing all it could to secure her release.

Itunu died in prison after she was said to have contracted an infection. Her remains were flown to Nigeria and buried in Oyo.

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