The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) in a statement on Friday gave an update concerning the Nigerian, Itunu Babalola, who was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to ten years imprisonment in Cote D’Ivoire.
All News Nigeria had earlier reported Nigerians who protested Itunu’s incarceration on social media. Her case was brought to the limelight by a journalist, David Hundeyin, in which NIDCOM in its response to the tweet, promised to investigate the issue.
Although Hundeyin reported that Babalola was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in the West African country, NIDCOM investigation revealed that the year was reduced to ten years.
NIDCOM also authoritatively confirmed that Babalola was innocent of the allegations against her, and was wrongfully incarcerated for a crime she did not commit.
Read the NIDCOM statement below:
NIGERIAN WRONGFULLY INCARCERATED IN COTE D’IVOIRE’S PRISON, ITUNU BABALOLA: FACTS OF THE MATTER.
ABUJA, MARCH 19, 2021.
Following painstaking investigations by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission and the Nigeria Mission in Abidjan, Côte 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.
According to the Chairman/CEO Nigerians in Diaspora Commission Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Charge D’Affaires of the Nigerian Mission in Côte D’Ivoire, Mr. Mohammed Gana, sent officials of the mission to Bondoukou, a city eight hours outside Abidjan when the case was brought to his attention.
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 offense she did not commit.
Reports indicate that the new Prosecutor assigned to the case has given assurances of a fair and unbiased review and retrial of the case to secure the Release of Itunu Babalola.
Reports also allegedly indicate that the former prosecutor in collaboration with the police twisted the case and accused Itunu Babalolo of human trafficking hence her conviction for 20yrs although the sentence was reduced to 10yrs from which she Has served 2yrs so far.
Itunu Babalola whose family is from Oyo State, Nigeria has been living in Bondoukou, Cote d’ivoire for a long time but got entangled in a legal battle when she reported the burglary of her house to the Police
On efforts made to secure her bail, the prosecutor said it is only the Court that can grant her bail as she has already been convicted.
We will continue to monitor the case as it unfolds.
E-signed, Gabriel Odu
Media, Public Relations and Protocols Unit.