The Chairman of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission Abike Dabiri Erewo, has been blasted by a human rights activist and author, Comrade Paul Ikechukwu Njoku over a video where she was seen shutting out a contributor during a live radio programme.

Abike was caught in a leaked viral video-clip rebuffing and signalling a radio presenter who seated with her in the studio during a phone-in-radio program not to entertain questions on 26 year-old Itunu Babalola who died in Ivory Coast’s detention as she was convicted and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment which was later reduced to 10 years.

Babalola, a Cote d’Ivoire-based Nigerian trader was wrongly accused of human trafficking but died in the prison on November 15, 2021.

After her death, many condemnations and criticisms greeted the NIDCOM CEO for not taking drastic steps that could have prevented the businesswoman in an Ivorian prison.

In a viral video Dabiri-Erewa was seen dodging some questions pertaining to Babalola’s demise on a live radio programme on Lagos Talks 91.3FM where she was a guest.

She was seen using both her head to nod in disagreement or refusal and her hand not to entertain a question from an investigative journalist, David Hundeyin, who first broke the news of Babalola’s predicament in Ivory Coast in March 2021.

The post went viral and eventually gained the attention of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM).

In a statement, Abike Dabiri had confirmed the report at the time, saying the commission was doing all it can to secure the release of Babalola.

In the video, however, the presenter had earlier said, “You know, he’s been very passionate about Itunu’s death. Unfortunately, but err… I can’t hear him right now. To be very honest, I’m trying to see if you want to ask any question.”

The NIDCOM chairman was shaking her head vigorously and at the same gesticulating with her hand to tell the lady presenter that she would not entertain Hundeyin’s question.

During the phone-in-interaction, Hundeyin in the video had said, “Good evening, my name is David Hundeyin, and I’m actually a journalist who broke the news about Itunu Babalola in March, Now. I have a very…”

Reacting, activist Paul Njoku described the action of Abike Dabiri as grossly shameful, irrational, undemocratic, misleading and hypocritical on freedom of press, speech and opinion as contained in the constitution, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari should sack her to proof his government is not indeed stifling free speech, muzzling the media to siege, indiscriminately assaulting and arresting journalists and illegally incarcerating human rights activists and dissenters.

 

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