Africa News

#JusticeForItunu: Nigerian Lady Sentenced To 20 Years In Ivory Coast After Being Set Up By Corrupt Officials

Itunu Olajumoke Babalola, a Nigerian woman living in Ivory Coast, was sentenced to 20 years in prison by an Ivorian court after being set up by corrupt officials to cover up a crime committed by the nephew of an Ivorian DPO.

On Sunday night, popular writer David Hundeyin revealed this in a Twitter thread.

See the following Twitter thread:

Itunu, a 21-year-old trader from Bondoukou, Cote d’Ivoire, traveled to Nigeria in September 2019 to see her sick mother in Ibadan. Her return to Cote d’Ivoire, unbeknownst to her, would mark the beginning of a harrowing ordeal in a notorious Ivorian prison, which is still ongoing.
Itunu’s flat was burgled just before she was to leave, and items worth more than N300,000 were stolen, including her TV and gas cooker. Despite the blow, she decided to continue traveling after reporting the incident to the police. In October of this year, she returned from her trip. When she returned, a lodger she had left in her flat informed her that the thief had been identified. The thief turned out to be a 14-year-old boy from the neighborhood. His humiliated father apologized and admitted that his son was a serial thief. The merchandise had already been sold.

Itunu informed the police, who told her to return on Tuesday, November 5, 2019. The meeting was held on Wednesday, November 6. According to her, the DPO informed her that the suspect was, in fact, his nephew. He then offered her a N100,000 settlement to settle the case.

She declined the settlement, citing the disparity in value between the stolen items and what was offered. Next, she claims that the visibly enraged DPO tried everything to persuade her to drop the case, including forcing her to travel to Abidjan for a police appointment.
In Abidjan, she hired a lawyer to accompany her to the appointment, but the police refused to cooperate. She returned to Bondoukou, frustrated. The next day, around 5 p.m., a police car convoy arrived outside her house and publicly arrested her.

When she arrived at the station, she was charged with theft – the theft of her own belongings from her own apartment. She was detained for four days before being taken out of the cell and offered her freedom if she agreed to sign papers dismissing her case.
Despite the obvious bad faith displayed by the Ivorian police, Itunu claims she rejected the offer and chose to go to court instead. She claims to have overheard an officer say, “Elle est une Nigériane?” She’ll die here!” (“Is she Nigerian?”) She will perish here!”)

The decision to go to court proved to be a monumental error of judgment, exacerbated by her own ignorance of the Ivorian justice system.
The Nigerian lady has been convicted of corrupt officials for 20 years in Ivory Coast

The (French-speaking) court did not give her sufficient legal representation or the opportunity to state the case properly. She was quickly sentenced to twenty years in prison and convicted. This made her decision to identify with the tribunal as “Becky Paul even more complicated.
She says that she has done this so that her name is not mixed in poor news and that she can upset her elderly mother. As a result, itunu aka “Becky Paul” became in every way a forgotten prisoner at the notorious Bondoukou House of Arrest and Correction for the last year and four months since her conviction (Bondoukou Remand and Correction Facility).

When her Nigerian friends in Cote d’Ivoire approached their case in Abidjan at the Nigerian embassy, the officers reportedly called for the passport of N400,000, before anything could be done.
She says she has spent a lot over the last year in trying to clear her name while she has joined forces to frustration with the Ivorian court system and individual prison authorities.

She lost hope, and she attempted suicide twice. This call is made for an innocent Nigerian woman who is in a hostile foreign prison when founded by corrupt officials and is guilty of a crime committed by a nephew of the DPO in Ivory.


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