A controversial Yoruba filmmaker cum actor, Yomi Fabiyi, risks a two-year jail term for producing the controversial movie, ‘Oko Iyabo’ a lawyer has said.
Mani Enajeroh, a Nigerian corporate and commercial lawyer, listed some offences he said the actor is liable for.
Mr Fabiyi made good his promise to release a movie based on the rape allegation levelled against his embattled colleague and close friend, Omiyinka Olanrewaju (Baba Ijesha).
‘Oko Iyabo’, which is loosely based on Baba Ijesha’s alleged rape saga, his ‘social media trial’ and all the parties involved, debuted on Sunday.
The movie has since been set to private mode on YouTube because of the outcry that trailed its release.
Offences committed – Lawyer
In an email correspondence with PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday, Mr Enajeroh, who is also the legal counsel to music artistes, Blackface Naija and Cynthia Morgan (Madrina), said Mr Fabiyi has contravened at least two criminal laws with the production of ‘Oko Iyabo’.
Mr Enajeroh said he believed the movie, directed by Dele Matti, has ‘criminal implications’.
He also said “producing a case before the court is contempt of court, and a two-year jail term offense”.
He said, “Criminal cases start once a person is arrested and charged, and remain active until conviction.
“He (Fabiyi) has his right to free speech and expression, but the publication of a movie depicting your own account of a matter which is sub judice (that is currently before the Court) is in my own opinion a contempt of court, it is punishable with up to two years.”
He also condemned Mr Fabiyi’s decision to produce such a film considering the sensitive nature of the case and the parties involved.
He said: “you make a film to cause prejudice in a case that is pending, for your own financial gain. Especially such a sensitive case, it makes me wonder what kind of society we live in. Apart from that, there are laws against criminal defamation,” he said.
Mr Enajeroh also said Section 373 of the criminal code which defines criminal defamation as a matter “likely to injure the reputation of any person by exposing them to hatred, contempt or ridicule.”
“The law clearly says it can also be through insinuation. So, he cannot claim that the movie has no relation to the ongoing case.
‘To be honest, I have not watched the movie fully and I don’t intend to, but in the scene I saw the girl saying she wants to be a prostitute when she grows up.
”To insinuate immoral conduct by a minor who is the victim in a pending case is clearly criminal defamation.”
PREMIUM TIMES reached out to other lawyers to get their views on the matter but no response came in as of the time of filing report.
But defending his decision to produce and release the movie, Mr Fabiyi said he has the right to write his own story with real names and it is “allowed in movie making.”
His critics had accused him of “flipping the script and subbing Iyabo Ojo in the movie”.
Mr Fabiyi in turn said, “Ms Ojo has produced so many videos mentioning my full names and the videos were published on YouTube, IGTV etc, simply because I stand for human rights, so also Princess mentioned my real names.
“They called me a paedophile and rape apologist for standing by what is right. No sentiment on use of real names. It is allowed in movie making,” he added.
Speaking further, Mr Fabiyi said the movie “never undermined the victim or any girl child, someone twisted that so they can make you react.”
The actor said most viewers saw some scenes in the movie “and didn’t bother to see the full movie”.
He urged his critics to endeavour to see the full film and “not base their judgment on an isolated scene that is in circulation.”
When PREMIUM TIMES watched the movie on Monday evening, it was observed that one of the scenes was an exact reenactment of the viral CCTV video footage which implicated Baba Ijesha.
Recall that the commedianne, Princess, who accused Baba Ijesha of raping her 14-year-old foster daughter, released a CCTV footage showing the moment Baba Ijesha was allegedly caught sexually harassing the teenager and also confessing to the crime.
This was in April.
In Mr Fabiyi’s movie, a teen actress could be seen making the first move on the actor.
Many say it also portrayed Baba Ijesha as a victim of a carefully orchestrated ploy by his ‘close friend’.
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