Mr Babalola, father of 23-year-old Nigerian lady wrongly incarcerated in Cote D’lvoire, Itunu Babalola says the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) had asked the family not to grant media interviews.
Investigative journalist, David Hundeyin revealed this via his Twitter handle on Tuesday by posting an interview with the father.
According to the grieving father, whose daughter died from an infection in prison, the Public Relations Officer working with Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) asked him not to speak with any media personnel but rather direct them to the commission.
He also noted that Dabiri-Erewa asked him to relax, assuring him that she will take up the matter.
In a recorded telephone conversation between the bereaved man and the journalist, Babalola said, “I’m not granting any interview again because they even called me yesterday, they even asked for her identification card and I told the person I don’t have any of her documents with me
“I called Abike Dabiri PRO today and they said I should not grant any interview that if they call me, I should direct them to Abike-Dabiri. Abike-Dabiri herself called me and said I should relax that she will take everything up. That’s what she told me yesterday evening.”
Furious, David alleged that Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman is trying to control the family of the deceased lady.
Taking to his Twitter handle on Tuesday, David noted that Abike and the Nigerian authorities were now using the repatriation of the corpse as a bargaining chip to determine the narrative of the story by asking the family to shun media interviews.
His tweet reads, “I’m not supposed to record or upload conversations without consent, but I will make an exception here. @abikedabiri is a very wicked human being!
”I spoke to Itunu’s dad this morning and he said that she has told him not to speak to the media while she “takes care of” things.
“This unbelievably cruel and selfish mockery of human being called @abikedabiri is only interested in controlling the narrative after she already failed to do her job.
“Now she’s using his daughter’s corpse as a bargaining chip to make him do what she tells him to do!”
This unbelievably cruel and selfish mockery of human being called @abikedabiri is only interested in controlling the narrative after she already failed to do her job.
Now she’s using his daughter’s corpse as a bargaining chip to make him do what she tells him to do!
— David Hundeyin (@DavidHundeyin) November 16, 2021
Efforts to get the reactions of the Head of Media and Public Relations Unit, Abdul Rahman Adekunle Balogun, proved futile as his telephone lines were not connecting.
On Sunday, the death of the young lady was announced by Hundeyin in a thread on his Twitter page.
According to him, the young lady contracted an infection in prison which led to her death on Sunday night. Videos attached to the thread showed Babalola writhing in pain on the hospital bed after which she gave up the ghost.
The father of the young lady thereafter requested for repatriation of the corpse of his daughter, Abike Dabiri told BBC Pidgin.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian government has demanded a detailed autopsy to be carried out on Itunu.
SaharaReporters had on March 15 reported that Babalola, who was based in Bondoukou, Cote D’Ivoire was rotting in a detention camp for refusing to accept police “settlement” of N100,000 for the crime of burglary committed in her house.
The Ivorian police had allegedly threatened and resolved to deal with Itunu Babalola who reported the theft to them in October 2019, but the suspected burglar was said to be a top police officer’s close relative.
It was gathered that instead of charging the suspected burglar to court, the police perfected a plot to bribe Babalola to collect N100,000 for her stolen items, which she refused.
SaharaReporters gathered that when the police authorities saw that she was adamant and insisting on getting justice, they prepared trumped-up charges against her and sent her to detention.
Hundeyin, who followed the case, stated that the woman had come to Nigeria to check on her sick mother in September 2019 when her house in Cote D’Ivoire was burgled.
Concerned Nigerians had called on the government to intervene in Babalola’s case and ensure her release from detention in the West African country.
The Nigerian Government, through NIDCOM and the Nigerian Mission in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire had said its investigation into the case of Itunu Babalola showed that she was innocent and was framed up.