Nigerian Government demands autopsy for national who died in Ivorian jail

Nigerian Government demands autopsy for national who died in Ivorian jail

Following the news of the death of Itunu Babalola, a Nigerian sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in Côte Divoire for alleged human trafficking, the Nigerian government through the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) has demanded an autopsy.

Ms Babalola is suspected to have died from diabetes complications a few days after she was rushed to the hospital from a prison in Côte D’Ivoire.

According to the commission, its attention was drawn to the case five months ago.

The Chairman of the commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa described Ms Babalola’s death as a tragic blow which came at a time the Nigerian mission in Côte Divoire had paid and engaged the services of a lawyer to handle her 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,” Ms Dabiri-Erewa said.

“Her death, will, however, not stop the appeal in court in order to vindicate her of the charges against her,” Ms Dabiri-Erewa assured in her statement.


Nigerians were outraged by what many described as negligence on the part of the Nigerian government and NIDCOM.

A Twitter user, Demola Olarewaju, wrote, “understand that every failure of government kills the fire of patrotism in citizens, one candle at a time. Itunu Babalola did not just die alone, her death has snuffed out the light of hope in those who dared to believe that just maybe this time, Nigeria would turn up differently.”

Another user, Olufemiloye, asked rhetorically, “what is the value of the life of a Nigerian to the Nigerian government?”

He added that what Itunu went through in Côte D’Ivoire is “heart wrenching and she was failed by both Nigeria and Côte D’Ivoire”.

Who is Itunnu Babalola?

Itunnu Babalola, 23, was a Nigerian who lived in Bondoukou, Côte D’Ivoire.

According to NIDCOM’s account, Itunnu had 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 policeman, 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.

She 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, a distance of over four hours from Abidjan.

While the appeal case was on , Itunu was said to have had complications from diabetes and was rushed to the hospital where she died.

According to NIDCOM, the hospital bills were paid by the Nigerian mission through the lawyer whose services were engaged by the mission.


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