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I want justice for my daughter, father of lady killed in Cote d’Ivoire prison cries out

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THE remains of Itunu Babalola, a 25-year-old Nigerian lady, who was allegedly killed in Cote d’ Ivoire prison on November 14 was on Saturday, buried at Sango Cemetery, Ibadan amidst wailing by family members and relatives. 

The ambulance bearing her corpse, which was brought by a delegation of Nigerians In Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) arrived at the cemetery around 9.30 a:m. 

The delegation was led by NIDCOM head of media, public relations and protocol, Mr Abdulrahman Balogun. 

However, the family members led by an uncle to the deceased demanded that the sealed coffin be opened before the commencement of a short burial service so that they can confirm that it was Itunu’s body. 

Delivering a sermon at the graveside, the cleric in charge of the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), Agbowo, Arch Diocesan Headquarters, Most Superior Evangelist Daniel Oluwatosin Otakoya said “we cannot question God on the death of Itunu.” 

Drawing reference from the book of Revelation, chapter 14, verse 6 to 13, he stated: “Everybody will die. We are pained be the death of Itunnu, but there is nothing we can do about it. God taken her away.” 

Otakoya charged everyone, irrespective of status, religious belief and ethnic nationality to imbibe good virtues and live an exemplary life, saying “we need to use whatever position we occupy in life well to ensure that we leave good legacies after our demise.” Meanwhile, Itunu’s father, Mr Abayomi Babalola has described the killing of her daughter in Cote d’ Ivoire prison as devastating and gruesome, stressing that “all I want for Itunu is justice. She must not die in vain.” Speaking during an interview with Sunday Tribune at his residence located inside the University of Ibadan (UI), Babalola said “my only daughter was tortured, maltreated and molested in Cote d’ Ivoire prison. She was jailed for an offence she didn’t committ. “I am pleading with the Federal Government of Nigeria to ensure that all those involved in the brutal killing of my daughter are made to face justice in that country. The case must be pursued to a logical conclusion, “he stated. 

Recalling what led to her death, Babalola explained that “Itunu came to Nigeria in 2019. 

While here, she received a message that her apartment in Abidjan was burgled. She hurriedly went back and reported the incident to the police only to discover that the person who burgled her apartment is a relative of the DPO of the police station where she reported the matter. 

“The DPO prevailed on her to withdraw the case, promising to give her N100,000 for her property that was burgled, which was worth over N300,000. However, Itunu refused to take N100,000. About three days later, the police came to arrest her and charged her for human trafficking. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison, which was commuted to 10 years. 

“The Federal Government of Nigeria intervened and she was to be released before the end of this month when she was killed in the prison. She didn’t commit any offence. Few days before her death, she called me on phone, lamenting that she was being tortured and maltreated on the order of the DPO, “Babalola remarked.

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