Nigerian lady who died in Cote d’Ivoire prison for burial today

Itunu Babalola, the Nigerian lady who died in prison in Côte D’Ivoire after she was wrongly jailed, will be buried in Ibadan, Oyo State, today.

The deceased will be buried at the Sango Cemetery, a statement by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission on Friday quoted family sources as saying.

NiDCOM had in a statement titled, ‘Cote D’Ivoire: Itunnu Babalola Body Arrives in Nigeria Today,’ said the remains of the lady would arrive in Nigeria on Friday night at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, via Air Côte D’Ivoire.

The statement read, “The body of a Nigerian who died in Côte D’Ivoire prison, Ms Itunnu Babalola a.k.a Becky Paul, arrives in Nigeria on Friday night. Itunu’s remains will arrive at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos on Friday at 11pm via Air Côte D’Ivoire.

“Top senior officials from both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nigerians in Diaspora Commission will be on hand to receive the corpse. According to family sources, Itunnu’s remains will be interred at Sango cemetery, Ibadan on Saturday, December 4, at 9am.

Babalola reportedly died on November 14.

The deceased, said to be a trader based in Bondoukou, Côte D’Ivoire, had been sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment after a theft case she reported to the police was turned against her.

The lady, who had been in prison since 2019, was said to have refused to grant the request of a divisional police officer to drop the case.

A journalist, David Hundeyin, who shared Babalola’s story on Twitter, explained that the victim’s flat was burgled and items worth over N300,000 stolen.

She was said to have travelled to Nigeria to see her sick mother after reporting the theft to the police but was later accused of human trafficking.

She was said to have fallen ill and taken to hospital after spending her savings while trying to clear her name.

Her death led to an outrage among Nigerians while the Federal Government demanded an autopsy for the victim.

The NiDCOM Chairman, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who described the death as a tragic blow as “the Nigerian mission in Côte D’Ivoire had paid and engaged the services of a lawyer to handle Itunnu’s appeal case.”