A Yaba Magistrates’ Court, Lagos, yesterday remanded popular Nollywood actor, Omiyinka Olanrewaju aka Baba Ijesha, in prison custody over charges of child molestation and defilement. The 48-year-old actor was arraigned on charges bordering on defilement, sexual assault and abuse of a 14-year-old girl, who is the foster daughter of a popular comedienne, Adekola Adekanya aka Princess.
Baba Ijesha was brought to the premises of the court about noon in a blue top, clutching a motivational book entitled: ‘How to thrive in a perilous time.’ Upon arraignment, Baba Ijesha pleaded not guilty to the offences. The defendant was charged on the offences of indecent treatment of a child, defilement of a child, sexual assault by penetration, attempted sexual assault by penetration and sexual assault. The police prosecutor, S. A. Adebesin, said the offences contravened Sections 135, 137, 261, 202, 262 and 263 of the Lagos State Criminal Law 2015.
Adebesin also informed the court that information had been filed before the state High Court. During the proceeding, Magistrate P. Nwaka, who noticed the ill state of the defendant and directed that a chair be given to him to sit in the dock, ordered that full medical attention should be accorded to the popular actor after the arraignment. Nwaka, however, refused the fresh bail application filed by the defendant’s lawyer, Kayode Olabiran. Olabiran had applied that his client be granted bail on liberal terms and on grounds of poor health conditions.
But the magistrate refused the bail application on the grounds that the Lagos State Ministry of Justice had filed charges before a High Court and therefore, lacked the jurisdiction. The defendant was earlier granted bail on May 17 in a Special Court session during the strike by the Judiciary Workers Union of Nigeria (JUSUN).
He was directed to produce two sureties, one being his relative and another a Level 16 officer of the Lagos State Civil Service, and a bail bond of N500,000. But he was unable to meet these conditions, especially due to an inability to secure a Level 16 officer to stand in for him. Baba Ijesha was yesterday remanded in a correctional centre pending the commencement of his trial at the High Court. Nwaka adjourned the matter till July 13, 2021 for mention.