The federal government and the family of the late Itunu Babalola, the Nigerian lady who died in Côte d’Ivoire after she was wrongly jailed, have rejected the autopsy on the cause of her death.
The chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa and the father of the deceased, Mr Emmanuel Babalola, gave this position at a meeting at the NiDCOM office.
It would be recalled that 24-year-old Itunu from Oyo State reportedly died on Nov. 14 and Nigerians took to social media to express their angst over her death.
Itunu reportedly got entangled in a legal battle when she reported to the police that her house in Bondoukou, Cote d’Ivoire had been burgled.
She was said to have been charged to court and the prosecutor, in collaboration with the police, allegedly compromised the case and accused her of human trafficking.
Itunu was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison which was later reduced to 10 years, but she died two years into her jail term.
Speaking, Dabiri-Erewa, who expressed NiDCOM deepest condolences to Babalola family, said that though she (Dabiri-Erewa) was not a doctor, the autopsy left so many questions unanswered.
“I am not a doctor but when I looked at the autopsy report itself, ‘Sepsis Complicated by Acute Respiratory Distress’, that is not acceptable even to me without being a doctor and I don’t think that should be acceptable.”
“I believe that Nigeria should not just let this matter go just like that. We need to demand justice. How come she just died after everything has been done for her release?” she asked.
“Even the lawyer said that the girl was not guilty of the crime she was accused of”, she said.
I am sure the Minister of Foreign Affairs will take the next necessary steps to demand from Cote d’Ivoire a lot more information than they have given about what happened to Itunu’s case.”
Earlier, Mr Babalola, who commended the Federal Government’s efforts to get her late daughter released from the prison before she died as well as getting the corpse released.
“When the Ivorian government took Itunu to hospital, she was bleeding, blood coming out of her mouth and nose, and I did not know what really happened until I heard suddenly that my daughter was dead.
“This has put me in sadness since then. I want the case to continue. I reject the autopsy. I want to know the cause of her death. I want the Nigerian government to please help me and investigate further what led to her death,” the father who wept profusely said.