The embattled Yoruba actor, Olanrewaju James, popularly known as Baba Ijesha, is traumatised and walks with difficulties in police detention, his lawyer, Adesina Ogunlana, has said.
Mr Ogunlana, a former chair of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja branch, said this in a letter addressed to the Lagos Commissioner of Police seeking Baba Ijesha’s bail on Friday.
Actor Baba Ijesha is under investigation by the Lagos State police command on allegations of rape and has been in police detention since April 22 for the alleged offence.
The actor is being accused by a Nigerian comedienne, Princess, of raping a minor (when she was 7-year-old) who was kept in her care.
In a letter addressed to the Lagos police commissioner, Mr Ogunlana, who doubles as the chairperson of the Radical Agenda Movement In The Nigerian Bar Association, (RAMINBA), said his client should be released on bail.
He also added that Baba Ijesha’s colleague and close pal, Yomi Fabiyi, is ready to stand as a surety for him.
“As of today when I met with Omiyinka in the company of his thespian colleague and ready surety, Mr Yomi Fabiyi, he appeared traumatised, emaciated, and walked with a limp in his right leg. May I assure you, sir, that Mr Omiyinka is not a flight risk and he is prepared to face trial,” the letter reads in part.
In the letter, the lawyer lamented Baba Ijesha’s continuous detention at the SCID Panti Yaba facility for almost a month, saying ‘‘it is in gross breach of his fundamental human rights as cognisable under the 1999 constitution, the grand norm of the nation’s legal architecture’’.
“We are aware that a piece of legal advice on our client’s matter has been issued about two weeks ago, disclosing prospective charges of bailable character.
“From all indications, the investigation has been concluded in his matter and it is inconceivable that the issuance of legal advice will now be a basis for the denial of bail as you have been widely reported in the press to have claimed.
Bail application update
Ayo Ademiluyi, Secretary of RAMINBA, who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday, said Baba Ijesha’s bail application has not been granted.
“We went to the Deputy Commissioner of police, the state CID, where he is currently being detained and we argued that he cannot be denied bail on the basis that the Nigerian courts are on strike. So, the DCP told us to apply for his bail, and we brought an application under the aegis of Winner Don’t Quit chambers which is Mr Ogunlana’s law firm.
Mr Ademiluyi said the bail application has been submitted and acknowledged but they are yet to get a feedback.
“We submitted that application, that application was written to the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Hakeem Odumosu, and the Deputy Commissioner of Police said he is going to translate it to him. And it has been acknowledged, and as we speak, there has been no feedback or no response to that application.”
Mr Ademiluyi said the refusal of the police to grant Baba Ijesha’s bail application means that the country has no regard for its own constitutional provisions.
“If the application is granted, that means that the police are following the law but if it is not being granted that means that we have graduated in this country to a state of lawlessness.”
The Attorney-General of Lagos and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo, recently revealed that the actor would be tried under five provisions of the criminal law of Lagos State based on the advice given on the case by the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP).
The charges and implications are listed below:
1)Section 135, Indecent Treatment of a child- punishable by 7 years imprisonment,
(2)Section 137- Defilement of a Child-, punishable by life imprisonment,
(3) Section 261. Sexual Assault by Penetration- punishable by life imprisonment,
(4) Section 262- Attempted Sexual Assault by Penetration, punishable by 14 years imprisonment and
(5) Section 263, Sexual Assault-punishable by 3 years imprisonment.
Since April 22, 2021, when PREMIUM TIMES reported Baba Ijesha’s alleged rape incident, he has faced some serious backlash and lost his goodwill.
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