Nigeria demands autopsy of citizen who died in Ivorian custody
The Nigerian government has demanded a full autopsy on the sudden and mysterious death of Itunu Babalola, a Nigerian, sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in Ivory Coast for alleged human trafficking.
This was contained in a statement signed by the chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa.
Dabiri-Erewa said she was informed of Itunu Babalola’s death on Monday afternoon. She described her death as a tragic blow at a time when the Nigerian mission in Ivory Coast had paid and engaged the services of a lawyer to handle Itunnu’s appeal case.
She said Itunu, who was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, did not commit the offence she was convicted for.
Babalola had reportedly accused an Ivorian of a robbery at her residence and insisted on filing a case against him.
The accused who happens to be related to an Ivorian policeman, asked her to drop the case, but she refused, according to Dabiri-Erewa.
She said Itunu went ahead to file charges against him and allegedly used a different name to file the case and somehow a case of robbery which she filed mysteriously turned to a case of human trafficking against her.
Dabiri-Erewa said the Nigerian mission in Cote Divoire supported by the Nigerian community got Itunu a 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.
Dabiri-Erewa disclosed that Itunu reportedly had complications from diabetes and was rushed to the hospital by the Nigerian mission.
“Unfortunately, she died suddenly after a few days of admission at the Hospital,” Dabiri-Erewa said.
The government official said Itunu’s death will not stop the appeal in court in order to vindicate her of the charges against her.