A Nigerian lady, Itunu Olajumoke Babalola, is reportedly being held in a Cote d’Ivoire prison for daring to pursue a case of alleged theft at her residence in 2019.
Babalola was said to have reported to the Cote d’Ivoire police that her items worth N300,000 were stolen by a young lad who broke into her apartment, but instead of helping her get justice, the police allegedly locked her up and had kept her in custody ever since.
THE WHISTLER learnt that the matter is now being investigated by the Nigerians In Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM).
Babalola was reportedly urged by the country’s police to drop the issue or face the consequences.
A journalist, David Hundeyin, tweeted that upon taking the issue to the police, “She spent the next 4 days in police custody, after which she was taken out of the cell and offered her freedom if she agreed to sign papers dropping her case.
“For whatever reason despite the clear bad faith displayed by the Ivorian police, Itunu says she rejected the offer and chose to go to court instead.
“The decision to go to court turned out to be a monumental error of judgment compounded by her own naivety about the Ivorian justice system.
“The (French-speaking) court did not allow her adequate legal representation or give her a chance to properly state her case. She was speedily convicted and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.”
Another Twitter user (Timi Jaden) claimed that he knew Itunu, adding that her ordeal in a foreign land since 2019 was worrisome.
“I’ve always known Itunu Olajumoke Babalola as a kind hearted and industrious person, When I got to know about her unlawful imprisonment in Ivory Coast since 2019 for the crime she didn’t commit I was sober. I thought about her sick aged mom and siblings, What would be their fate?,” Timi tweeted.
A twitter user, Arije John Ekundayo, called on the Nigerian government to intervene in Itunu’s matter
“She has been unlawfully incarcerated in the notorious Ivorian Prison since October 2019 for an offense committed by an Ivorian Nationale against her.
“Apparently, clauses points at the young lady as she is not a legal immigrant in Ivory Coast, but that doesn’t overrule the fact that Nigerian blood runs through her veins,” he stated.
Meanwhile, NIDCOM, on Monday, noted the calls and assured that “we will investigate and get back with our findings. Our Mission in Abidjan will also help out.”
It pledged that like it has been doing in the past, Itunu’s case would not be an exemption.
“The Commission has been to several countries such as Togo, Benin Republic, Brazil, South-Africa, etc to facilitate the release of some Nigerians wrongfully arrested and incarcerated,” it tweeted.