FG To Provide Legal Aid to Nigerian Lady Wrongfully Jailed in Cote D’Ivore

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The Federal Government has said it is making efforts in securing the release of a Nigerian lady, Itunu Babalola, who was was handed a ten-year jail term in Cote d’Ivoire.

In a statement issued on Friday, the government, through the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), said it would take up the case and get justice for the 23-year-old victim.

NIDCOM Chairman, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said the Charge d’Affaire 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 10-year jail term for an offence she did not commit,” the statement issued by NIDCOM’s spokesman, Gabriel Odu, partly read.

“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 Babalola.”

According to NIDCOM, reports indicated that the former prosecutor, in collaboration with the police, allegedly twisted the case and accused Babalola of human trafficking, hence, her conviction for 20 years which was reduced to 10 years.

The victim, an indigene of Oyo State, was said to have been living in Bondoukou, Cote d’Ivoire, for a long time and got into trouble when she reported the burglary of her house to the police.

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

PRESS STATEMENT.

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NIGERIAN WRONGFULLY INCACERATED 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, Cote D’ivoire, it is now confirmed that Itunu Babalola, a Nigerian living in Abijan was wronglyfully 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 Luninary  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

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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.

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