Itunu Babalola: Justice must be served, NIDCOM boss vows




The Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, NIDCOM, Hon Abike
Dabiri-Erewa, has demanded full autopsy of a Nigerian girl, Itunu Babalola, 23, who died in Cote D’ivoire to determine the circumstances surrounding the death.

Blueprint reports that Itunu’s house in Abidjan Cote D’ivoire had been burgled and she reported the case to the police for investigation, however, she used Miss Becky Paul instead of her real name to file the case and the case unfortunately turned against her as she was later accused of human trafficking and died in Côte d’Ivoire prison.

The commission’s boss, who made the demand when she visited the Ambassador of Cote D’ivoire to Nigeria, Amb. Traore Kallilou, in Abuja, presented a protest letter to the Ambassador requesting a blow by blow account that culminated in the death of the Nigerian girl.
Dabiri-Erewa urged Nigerians in the Diaspora to always be good Ambassadors of the country by obeying the laws of their host countries, just as she appealed to them to always use their real identity in whatever they do and also register their presence in Nigerian Missions in their
places of residence.


Respinding, the Cote D’ivoire Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. Traore Kallilou, pledged full cooperation to ensure that nothing was swept under carpet and autopsy report monitored and published forthwith.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Embassy in Abidjan, Cote D’ivoire, has said efforts were on to rescue the late Itunu form Ivorian prison before her death.


A statement by the embassy titled: The Demise Of Miss Becky Paul A.K.A Itunu Babalola Which Occured On Sunday November 14, 2021, regretted that her death was announced at a period when efforts to rescue her started bearing fruits.


The embassy, however, noted that with the knowledge of her family members, an autopsy would be conducted to ascertain the actual cause of her death.
According to the statement, “We regret to announce the demise of Miss Becky Paul, also known as Itunu Babalola, which occurred at the Military Hospital in Abidjan, on Sunday, November, 14 2021.


“The deceased had been diagnosed with diabetes and went into a diabetic coma in a hospital in Bondoukou, North-central Cote dTvoire, on Friday November 12, 2021.
“This precipitated her immediate transfer to the Military Hospital in Abidjan. She eventually gave up the struggle on Sunday evening, after experiencing difficulties in breathing. With the consent of her family, an autopsy will be performed to determine the true cause of death.
“It is recalled that Miss Babalola had been sentenced to a 10-year prison term, following a conviction on allegations of human trafficking. Officials of the Embassy had paid her a Consular visit to not only ascertain the state of her well-being, but also consider options for a review of the matter.


“Till her death, she had vehemently protested her innocence, an action that compelled the Mission to seek legal representation to appeal the judgment, on her behalf. These efforts were beginning to bear fruit, as the case file, with the efforts of the lawyer, had been transferred to the Court of Appeal in Abidjan.


“We were anticipating the commencement of the appeal process before her untimely death. The Embassy in Abidjan is in communication with her family in Nigeria, and is working with them to ascertain their preferred next course of action regarding her interment.


“The Mission has also apprised its host authorities of this lamentable development and indeed, registered the displeasure of the Federal Government at the seemingly apathetic manner in which Miss Babalola’s case had been treated.
“The Embassy extends its deepest condolences to the family of the deceased and prays for the peaceful repose of her soul.”

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