Stella Dimoko Weekend Arena - NIDCOM Should Apologize To Nigerians For Itunu's Death.


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Friday, November 19, 2021

Weekend Arena - NIDCOM Should Apologize To Nigerians For Itunu's Death.

Lawlessness is not the absence of laws to govern a society. It is carrying out one’s activities in any state, confident that there would be no consequences. 

Biologists who have done extensive studies on punishment in animal species recognize that animals lower on the rung, actually mete out punishments as deterrents to their kinds when they misbehave. 

Amongst humans, it is a way of life, hence such sayings as ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’. Even God, as benevolent as He is, forgives our sins, but punishes us for those trespasses. One could pray to be forgiven, but the punishment usually happens someday, somehow somewhere. 

Ask those who commit adultery and get HIV in return.

If punishment is a natural part of life, one would be wondering in disgust why it seems to be lacking in the national life of Nigeria. So many infractions have been going on lately with nobody getting reprimanded irrespective of the outcry by the people. 

The death of Babalola Itunu, a Nigerian lady, who reportedly died in a prison in Cote D’Ivoire, is a typical example. According to reports, the lady’s apartment was burgled. She had reported the matter to the police but got framed on charges of human trafficking, because she was not willing to cooperate with the police, who wanted to set free the burglar. The implication was that Babalola Itunu, the ‘complainant’ soon became the ‘accused’; she was taken to court and wrongfully sentenced to 20 years.

Nobody expects an innocent person who gets jailed to be in the best frame of mind and this may have complicated her health which resulted in the unfortunate death of the lady in her early 20s. Before all these escalated, there had been an outcry in 2019, three years ago, drawing the attention of the authorities, especially the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, NiDCOM, headed by Abike Dabiri Erewa and the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, headed by Geoffrey Onyeama.

 Little or nothing was done apparently, because as at the time Babalola died, she was still a prisoner. In a face-saving move, the NiDCOM, through the head of media is urging full investigation (the usual Nigerian slang when officials want issues to be swept under the carpet) into the matter. The press statement, while highlighting that the Nigerian Mission in Abidjan and the Nigerian Community had hired a lawyer for the victim, did not indicate that it had written a petition to their Mission in Nigeria to register the displeasure of Nigerian people over this sad incident. NiDCOM’s office is in Abuja and nothing stops the management and staff of the commission from organizing a protest to their Mission to show how poorly they have treated a Nigerian, and how angry Nigerians are. 

We would be quick to organize protest in support of fuel hike and not this? But who was Babalola Itunu? May be her life did not matter enough to warrant such crucial steps. This is in great contrast to the case of Zainab Aliyu, who was wrongfully arrested, tried and sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for drug-peddling. With state fiat, the Nigerian government was able to establish that she was wrongfully arrested and the Saudis buckled by releasing the girl, whose fathers is reputed to have influence in the corridors of power, being an influential newspaper editor. NIDCOM celebrated this feat when it happened, which is commendable, but what have they done in Babalola’s case, save from issuing this press statement, following the outcry by Nigerians? Nothing!

In some saner climes, people should be throwing in the towel over this ugly development, but Nigeria is a unique state, where there are no consequences for dereliction of duty, where things that are grave are ignored. Incidentally the present group of officials seems to be enjoying this, as the administration is almost reluctant to sack or punish people for such.

In a few weeks from now, the matter, like all others would have been overtaken by another story and other nations of the world realizing that Nigeria has little value for their citizens would do worse. What would have emboldened a separatist group in Cameroon to cross the Nigerian border, into Taraba State, to kill Nigerians if not this ‘see-finish’ attitude? I am sure those separatists are cock-sure there would be no consequences and they may be right about that.

Business of state must wear the right official mien to handle matters in a way they should be handled, so that people could have confidence in their country. People must be held accountable for their misdeeds!


  1. Itunu's death really pained me knowing that if the government had stepped in on time with decisive steps, she would have probably been free and alive today.

  2. This is the first time I am hearing of this case. Nigeria is just a place filled with a bad leadership in every strata honestly.

  3. When you come from a lawless country that has no value for human life this is the result

  4. No need apologies..she should resign period!

  5. Apologies? Will this bring her back to life now or in the future. Mistakes were made no doubt. It's unfortunate she died. The Nigerian consulate did all that was necessary. I guess the younger generation have to learn from this. She reported a case of robbery at a police station and one or more of the policemen in the station pleaded with her to drop the case. For someone who was thousands of miles from home , with no support, she ought to have dropped the case and moved on. After all our policemen in Nigeria do the same thing. Rather than drop the case, she changed her name , committing a crime in her quest for justice in a foreign land, a nation that is known for mistreating Nigerians. She was framed up, the same thing policemen do in our nation everyday. Learn to forgive and never allow anger drive you into early death

    1. So, in all of these, this is all you could make out of it? Because our policemen do that does that make it right elsewhere too? Or does it make it wrong that she knew her right? Smh

    2. Alex, at times you write/comment as a law abiding citizen but you are not.

  6. Mr Ngozi idikwa right o.

    Chai..this our govt is just so yeyecious and uselesscious.


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