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Nigerian government, family reject autopsy result of Itunu Babalola who died in Ivory Coast prison

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The Nigerian government and family of the woman who died in a prison in Cote D’Ivoire, Itunu Babalola, also known as Becky Paul, have rejected the autopsy result on the cause of the death of the deceased.

Some lawyers had also volunteered to take up the matter with the Cote d’ Ivoire government at the ECOWAS Court.

The father on Tuesday spoke with newsmen during a meeting with the Chairperson of the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri -Erewa.

The bereaved, Emmanuel Babalola told newsmen that he was convinced that his daughter was killed and he passionately called on Nigerians to ensure that justice is ensured.

Dabiri Erewa also said that the Federal Government of Nigeria has rejected the autopsy report, which she described as “unacceptable”.

Details of the result are yet to be made public.

Last month, the 23-year-old Nigerian lady, who was wrongfully incarcerated in Cote D’lvoire, died.

According to him, the young lady contracted an infection in prison which led to her death on the night she died, with videos attached to the thread showed Babalola writhing in pain on the hospital bed after which she gave up the ghost.

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.

It was 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 showed that she was innocent and was framed up.

The government said the former prosecutor in Cote d’Ivoire in collaboration with the police twisted the case against Itunu and accused the woman of human trafficking, leading to her conviction for 10 years, out of which she had unjustly served two years.

Gabriel Odu, of the NIDCOM’s Media, Public Relations and Protocols Unit, issued a statement at the time which noted that the Nigerian government would move to rescue Itunu having established that she was framed up by the Ivorian government.

However, several months after, the young lady died after being infected in prison.

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Google set to invest $9.5bn in US

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Google has announced plans to invest $9.5bn in its US offices and data centers around the country in 2022, up from more than the $7bn it spent in 2021.

According to CNN, the big bet on office space was coming at a point Google was embracing a hybrid work model. The Alphabet-owned company has called for many of its employees to work in an office three days a week after two years of being fully remote.

The Chief Executive Officer of Alphabet and Google, Sundar Pichai, said, “It might seem counterintuitive to step up our investment in physical offices even as we embrace more flexibility in how we work.

“Yet we believe it’s more important than ever to invest in our campuses and that doing so will make for better products, a greater quality of life for our employees, and stronger communities.”
Google said it would open an office in Atlanta this year and continue to develop and expand office space in Austin and New York. It added that it planned to continue investing in data centers in Iowa, Nebraska, and Tennessee, among other states.

As part of the announcement, Google said it expected to create at least 12,000 new full-time jobs at the company this year.

Google and other tech companies were among the first businesses to shift to remote work when the pandemic hit in early 2020. But that shift always appeared to be temporary. Like others in Silicon Valley, Google had previously invested billions in expansive campuses and lavish office benefits for workers.

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European markets pull back amid doubts over latest Russian pledges over Ukraine

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European stocks retreated on Wednesday following the latest round of talks between Russia and Ukraine, aimed at finding a solution to the conflict.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 0.8% in early trade, with autos shedding 1.9% to lead losses, while oil and gas stocks gained 1.7%.

In terms of individual share price movement, Finland’s Nokian Tyres fell 6.6%, while Sweden’s Lundin Energy added 4.7%.

Investor sentiment was boosted on Tuesday following negotiations between Russian and Ukrainian officials in Turkey, at which Russia’s deputy defense minister claimed Moscow had decided to “drastically” cut back its military activity near Ukraine’s capital.

Alexander Fomin, who spoke following the talks in Istanbul, said Russia would slow its military operations near Kyiv and Chernihiv in order for peace talks to progress. Russia previously claimed that it would reduce military operations in other parts of Ukraine but then continued its advance.

Growing hope for a cease-fire appeared to boost investor sentiment Tuesday, as Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 200 points, or 0.6%. S&P 500 futures also climbed 0.6%, while Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 0.7%. Meanwhile, the price of U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil, which spiked on the heels of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, fell more than 4% to $100 per barrel.

Doubts have set in over the pledge, however, and while the Russian military has begun moving some of its troops in Ukraine away from areas around Kyiv to positions elsewhere in Ukraine, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby warned the troop movements do not amount to a retreat.

Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Wednesday trade as investors watch for developments surrounding the war in Ukraine. Stateside, traders are keeping tabs on a slew of key economic reports, while also monitoring the Federal Reserve’s planned interest rate hikes.

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey on Tuesday showed 11.3 million job openings, higher than the 11.1 million expected. The ADP will also release its private payrolls data ahead of the closely watched monthly jobs report, on Friday.

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Lagos Assembly kicks against harassment of residents by police

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Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, yesterday, cautioned police in the state against harassment, intimidation and extortion of residents.

Obasa said this on the floor of the House when lawmakers honoured outgoing Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu, who has been promoted to Assistant Inspector-General, and is due to retire in January 2022.

Obasa said Odumosu was honoured as the first Commissioner of Police in the state to stand before the lawmakers and address Lagosians on his experience policing the state.

The Speaker thanked Odumosu for his openness and responsiveness to issues affecting the peace of the state.

“It is important to call on those behind you to know that the relationship between the police and the people need to be constantly improved upon,” Obasa said, adding that men of the Nigeria Police Force need to build more trust among the people.

“Everybody must be treated with respect, dignity and honour. And that is how we can earn respect. Policing should not be about harassment and extortion but building trust among the people and making them comfortable,” Obasa said.

The Commissioner of Police, who led a team of officers to the House, thanked the lawmakers for their support. According to him, nothing could have been achieved in terms of security and peace in the state without assistance of the House.

He said he would remain grateful to Lagosians for making it possible for him and his team to effectively manage the security of the state.

Odumosu, who described Lagos as ‘mini-Nigeria’, said proactivity of the Assembly led to the creation of laws that helped the police remain successful in the state.

He said the Cultism Prohibition Law also helped to reduce illegal associations in tertiary institutions in the state and enlightened property owners and residents.

“We promise to continue to excel in providing watertight security for people of the state,” he told the lawmakers. He also promised he would encourage his successor to sustain the relationship between the police and the House, while urging the lawmakers to extend their support to his successor.

“Policing Lagos is not a tea party. Without the laws in Lagos, it would have been difficult to police the state. Don’t get tired, don’t relent in making laws that would make Lagos maintain its place as the most peaceful state in Nigeria,” he said.

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