The embattled Yoruba actor, Olanrewaju Omiyinka aka Baba Ijesha is still in police custody due to his inability to meet his bail conditions, Oyeniyi Akande, one of his legal representatives, has said.
Chief Magistrate Oluwatoyin Oghre granted Baba Ijesha bail on May 17 on health grounds.
The comic actor has been detailed for over one month without arraignment due to the ongoing strike by the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN).
Baba Ijesha was previously represented by a former chair of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja branch, Adeshina Ogunlana but currently has three counsels-Kayode Olabiran, Jane Ogunbiyi-Oluwaseyi, and Oyeniyi Akande.
But it was Mr Ogunlana who told PREMIUM TIMES on Monday morning that he had been assured that the actor would be released today (Monday)
However, Mr Akande, his new counsel, would later tell this newspaper on Monday evening that the actor was yet to fulfill part of his bail condition-a level 16 officer in the civil service as one of his sureties.
Mr Olabiran had told PREMIUM TIMES that the “bail condition includes two relatives of Baba Ijesha, one civil servant of grade 16 and a refundable sum of N500,000 to be paid into the Lagos High court account.”
Mr Akande said they were still looking for a civil servant to stand as a surety for the actor.
“He hasn’t been released, up till today, they are looking for the level 16 officer. And today, I learned that he even went to the hospital for treatment, you know he is not feeling fine,” he said.
He also assured that the actor will fulfill all bail conditions and regain freedom unfailingly before the end of May.
“I’m sure before the end of the week, he will get a level 16 civil servant to stand as his surety by Friday. I can assure you Baba Ijesha will get out of that place this week. The deposit of N500,000 has already been paid.”
Legal representatives tussle
The controversy around the actor deepened on Friday as at least four counsels have claimed to be representing him.
Mr Ogunlana has been at the forefront of fighting for his release while Mr Olabiran is also laying claim to be the thespian’s lawyer.
Kayode Olabiran, Oyeniyi Akande, Oluwaseyi Ogunbiyi have also claimed they were engaged as a group of lawyers to represent Baba Ijesha.
Mr Ogunlana, a former chair of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja branch, has been at the forefront of fighting for the actor’s release and in the last two weeks wrote several letters to the Lagos Commissioner of Police seeking Baba Ijesha’s bail. But on Saturday, Baba Ijesha through Mr Olabiran released a disclaimer, stating that he never engaged the service of Mr Ogunlana.
Mr Olabiran in a statement described Mr Ogunlana as a “self-paraded” lawyer in a statement issued on the actor’s behalf.
Speaking to this newspaper, Mr Ogunlana said he was in a “state of deliberate withdrawal” due to the disclaimer and would wait for BabaIjesha’s release before he makes any “possible reaction.”
“I’m in a state of deliberate withdrawal, somebody has purportedly disowned me and I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt because he is incarcerated.
“You know he is in detention, a whole lot of things could happen and so, it does not seem like forcing oneself to someone who appears to be unwilling, that is important, though the people who spoke to me assured me that he will be released today. Mr Ogunlana directed this reporter to the other lawyers for comments,” he said.
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.
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