A Nigerian living in Abidjan who was wrongfully charged and incarcerated for a crime she did not commit passed away.
A Nigerian lady, 21, identified as Itunu Babalola, from Oyo State was a trader based in Bondoukou, Cote d’Ivoire.
Her apartment had been burgled by an Ivorian in September 2019 and she had reported the incident to the police but DPO informed her that the suspect was his nephew.
He reportedly offered her a settlement worth roughly N100,000 to drop the case, an amount lesser than the N300,000 worth of stolen effects.
Babalola was subsequently arrested when she refused the settlement, charged to court for human trafficking and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
A journalist, David Hundeyin, had shared the story of Babalola on Twitter in March 2021 and the Nigerians In Diaspora Commission had said it was working to prove the innocence of Babalola.
“Following painstaking investigations by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission and the Nigeria Mission in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, it is now confirmed that Itunu Babalola, a Nigerian living in Abidjan was wrongfully charged and incarcerated for a crime she did not commit.
“Plans are underway to engage the services of a legal luminary to prove the innocence of Itunu Babalola at the Court of Appeal after the accused had spent two years out of a ten-year jail term for an offence she did not commit,” the commission had promised in a statement.
However, many Nigerians were shocked on Sunday night when Hundeyin, who had been following the case, gave serial updates that Babalola’s contracted an infection in the Ivorian prison. The journalist uploaded photos of the young lady in an emergency situation being attended to on a stretcher by medical personnel.
Some were gutted that eight months after NIDCOM promised to ensure justice was served on the matter and secure the lady’s freedom, Babalola still remained behind bars in the Francophone West African nation.
Many were equally heartbroken when Hundeyin announced hours later that the young lady gave up the ghost.
“I have just received a message from Cote d’Ivoire about Itunu Babalola. She is still in prison in Abidjan where she has contracted a serious infection and apparently she is dying. All those promises by NIDCOM, Abike Dabiri, OYSG etc – audio. She’s finally dying,” Hundeyin wrote.