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Federal Government must stop the killing of Nigerians in diaspora

Federal Government must stop the killing of Nigerians in diaspora

“Give us this day our daily bread”, is a line in the lord’s prayer. The statement according to the Bible was birthed when the disciples of Jesus Christ asked Him how to pray in his absence. He gave them The Lord’s prayer which has the statement in it. The statement will not gives food to the table without striving to make ends meet. Therefore, Nigerians in order to make a living dispersed across the world. But in the process of making a living, they have met unwarranted death.

Recently on Sunday, news filtered out of the death of a Nigerian, Itunu Babalola, who in search of greener pastures migrated to Cote d’Ivoire, a neighbouring West Africa country. Miss Itunu has been languishing in Ivorian prison before her untimely death. Her story was first brought to the fore sometimes around March by highly rated investigative journalist, David Hundeyin. He (David) had shared the story of Itunu on his Twitter handle in March 2021, and he narrated how the 21-year-old Itunu, a native of Oyo State based in Bondoukou, Cote d’Ivoire, was framed for an offence she did not commit. 

According to the reports, Miss Itunu apartment was burgled in September 2019 by an Ivorian, she had reported the incident to the police but the suspect is a relative of the police DPO in charge. The DPO informed her that the suspect was his nephew and he allegedly offered her the sum of N 100,000  to drop the case, a megre amount compared to stolen articles in the apartment, which she refused. Thereafter, she was falsely charged for human trafficking.

After the report, a government agency saddle with such responsibility, the Nigerians In Diaspora Commission headed by Abike Dabiri – Erewa, had said it was working to get Itunu released  and prove her innocent of the false crime of human trafficking levelled against her. After the commission has painstakingly investigated with due consultation with the Nigeria Mission in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire about her case, it confirmed that Itunu Babalola, a Nigerian living in Abidjan was wrongfully charged and incarcerated. The statement further stated that plans are underway by the commission to hire and offer legal services for her in order to exonerate her.

Abike Dabiri – Erewa

However, it was with rude shock that Nigerians learnt about her sudden demise. He (David), who had been following her case shared the news on twitter on Sunday night. It saddens the heart to learn that after 8 months, the news of her incarceration was broken. The government has not find means to secure her release from the prison after the commission promised to do so. Why? The people demands an answer, but there is no answer in sight. The federal government only demanded for an autopsy to know her cause of death, but to what importance is the autopsy when her death could have been averted using diplomacy with the Ivorian government? The action or inaction of government only prove the biases of some people that the life of the citizens of this country is worthless to the government.

The alarming rate of the act, coupled with the call and cry of Nigerians in diaspora should be a thing of concerns to all relevant stakeholders because miss Itunu’s tragic incident is not just a one off event as there has been occurrence of such incidents against Nigerians across the world. 

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From 2015-2017, no fewer than 116 Nigerians were killed in South Africa, which the commission knows already. In Italy, over 300 Nigerians are languishing in the various Italian prison on several trumped up charges. There are numerous similar cases against Nigerians across the world. This has only shown that the government does not revere the sanctity of life of Nigerians. It worth nothing to them.

However, I hope this serves as a wake up call for authorities to find a credible diplomatic solutions to the lingering issues of extral-judicial killing of Nigerians across the world. The government cannot continue to fold their arms and watch Nigerians get killed.


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