The Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has reiterated that the Nigerian government would ensure that Itunnu Babalola, a Nigerian who recently died while serving an alleged illegal jail term in Cote d’Ivoire, would get justice even in death.
Speaking when she appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Friday, Dabiri-Erewa gave the assurance that the government would do everything possible to ensure that justice is served in the matter.
“We don’t expect that this case is just going to end like that. An autopsy is being done, we expect the result. The case must go on so that even in death, she must get justice,” she said.
“NIDCOM has written to Interpol. A policeman was involved in Cote d’Ivoire, so they should look into it. What was the relationship? What happened? Maybe they have their own story; how did burglary turn to human trafficking, whether it was Becky Paul or Itunu.
“Also, the office of the Attorney-General is following the picture, and I hope that Nigeria as a country will ensure that it didn’t just let this go away just like that. We must get justice for the poor girl.”
It would be recalled that Itunu, who was in her early 20’s, died recently while serving a 20-year jail term in Cote d’Ivoire for human trafficking, a crime she had cried out of being wrongfully accused of.
It was reported that after her death, the buzz on social media had forced the Nigerian government to order an investigation into her mysterious death.
The NIDCOM chief had also quoted the victim’s father as saying that his late daughter was badly treated while she was held in a prison said to be hours away from Abidjan – the capital of Ivory Coast.
The victim was said to have been in prison for about two years before her father raised the alarm over the plight of his daughter after all efforts to secure her release proved abortive.
“She has been in jail for two years. All of a sudden burglary became human trafficking and the name she used for the case in Cote d’Ivoire was Becky Paul,” Dabiri-Erewa added.
“She was in court for two years before the father informed the diaspora commission and the Nigeria Mission in Cote d’Ivoire.”
Narrating the events that led to Itunnu’s sudden death in a statement on Tuesday, the NIDCOM chief lamented that she died abruptly while all hands were on deck to seek both legal and diplomatic intervention for her.