The Federal Government says that ‘diplomacy’ is the only way to get justice for Itunu Babalola, a Nigerian lady who died in Cote D’Ivoire prison last year.
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Zubairu Dada, stated this in Abuja on Thursday while fielding questions from newsmen at the weekly ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team.
Dada said the Federal Government would not rest on its oars “until justice is served in the matter’’.
Recall that the 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, Côte 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.
“I want us to understand that we are talking about another sovereign nation. The lady was taken to a regular court and the judge ruled that she was culpable of an offence and jailed her,” Dada said.
“The only recourse we had as a responsible nation was to go to the Appeal Court and that was what we did.
We appealed against that judgement and it was in that process that this lady took ill and died in custody.
“We have insisted that an autopsy be done on the corpse and we are also raising issues with the appropriate authorities where we are not fully satisfied to ensure that justice is done.
Even in death, we are not leaving the matter to go. We cannot take the law into our hands in that country.
Whether they jailed her rightly or wrongly, it is their law that was used, which we have to respect.
Again, diplomacy is the only way to go and we are leaving no stone unturned and we have the tacit support of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Diaspora,’’ he said.