By Celestine Ajayi
Succor will soon come the way of a Nigerian lady, Itunu Babalola, who was handed a ten-year jail term in Cote d’Ivoire as the Federal Government has said it is making efforts in securing her release.
According to 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.
“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 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” the statement said.
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.
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.