This is a complete breakdown of all the drama that has ensued since Olarenwaju Omiyinka James, aka Baba Ijesha, was arrested by the Nigerian Police on Thursday, April 22, 2021.
1. The Police arrested Nollywood actor Olarenwaju Omiyinka James, aka Baba Ijesha, on sexual assault charges on Thursday, April 22, 2021, after popular comedian and actress Princess Damilola Adekoya reported him for attempting to defile her 14-year-old ward.
2. The Police Public Relations Officer in Lagos State Command, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said Baba Ijesha had been defiling the minor since she was 7 years old. He also stated that there was CCTV evidence of the act as well as a recorded confession.
3. When the news first broke, the public didnt know it was the comedian who reported him, and many of his colleagues put out words in his support. Yoruba Nollywood stars – Bukky Black, Bimpe Akintunde, Samuel Jemitalo, Rotimi Makinde, Lege Miami, and Yomi Fabiyi-supported him at the beginning of the saga.
4. A few other actors like Chief Femi Branch, Mercy Aigbe, Nkechi Blessing, and Bukunmi Oluwasina immediately condemned the act. Iyabo Ojo, in particular, took the matter seriously and put out several videos asking her colleagues to avoid defending Baba Ijesha or asking to see the video.
5. However, after many people (actors and fans alike) kept pushing to see the video, Princess revealed that the alleged victim was her ward and the crime allegedly happened in her house.
6. She also explained what happened the first time Baba Ijesha allegedly defiled the child. She then clarified that he hadnt been abusing her since she was seven but instead molested her twice when at 7 years old and later when she was 14.
7. She further explained that the child only finally told them what happened recently. Princess decided to confront Baba Ijesha, but her family members warned her not to do so without any evidence. The fear was that he would deny it; people would defend him and accuse them of setting him up.
8. To gather evidence, she set up a CCTV camera in her living room, sent everyone out of the house and invited Baba Ijesha over to her house. She left him in the place with the child to escort the CCTV operators out and told him it would take her a while to return, but he should wait for her.
9. Princess claims he immediately searched her house to make sure no one else was at home or that there werent any cameras before he began the dastardly act. When things were really going south, she went back into the house, called the Police, and arrested him.
10. After that video, a few actors reneged on their support, but it was only the beginning of the fight between Iyabo Ojo and actor Yomi Fabiyi.
11. Yomi Fabiyi is one of Baba Ijeshas biggest supporters. When he was first arrested, Fabiyi shared on social media that he didnt support child abuse, but he believed in the rule of law. He stated that other Nollywood stars shouldnt be criticising the 48-year-old accused yet.
12. Iyabo Ojo and many others were on the other side of the argument. Stars like media personality Toke Makinwa and award-winning artiste Davido called him out for his lukewarm reaction towards such a significant issue.
13. After Yomi Fabiyi clearly chose a side, and it wasnt that of the minor, Iyabo Ojo put out several videos via Instagram. She talked about his choice and vowed to follow the matter closely, giving Princess and the child all her support.
14. On Thursday, April 29, 2021, the case took a new turn as Princess and Iyabo Ojo caught wind of the news that certain members of the movie industry were trying to secure Baba Ijeshas release.
15. In a fit of anger, Iyabo Ojo put out another video talking about those trying to free the actor. She then vowed to follow the matter closely, even if it meant escalating the case to a global level.
16. She described Baba Ijesha as a disgrace to the movie industry, who should be allowed to face the wrath of the law.
Hes a disgrace to the ANTP, Theatre And Motion Pictures Practitioners of Nigeria, TAMPAN. His mess is our mess. He has dragged the names of these associations in the mud, and I will not cover him up.
17. Iyabo Ojo also went to Panti Police Station, where the actor was detained to protest his release. The Police didnt release him that day.
18. Later that evening, she released a video of Baba Ijesha begging Princess for forgiveness after they caught him and before he was arrested.
19. The next day, on Friday, April 30, 2021, Princess once again took to social media to ask people to stop sending her hate messages. She alleged that the actor licked her ward all over and pressed her privates.
20. On Saturday, May 1, 2021, an 8-minute video of Baba Ijesha inappropriately touching the minor surfaced online. Many, including some of those who initially supported the actor, began to clamour for justice.
21. But, Yomi Fabiyi was on a campaign, determined to shift the blame from Baba Ijesha to Princess. He thought it was inhuman to let the child go through the trauma a second time only to use her as bait, and all involved should be arrested.
In one of his rants, he said, Every Nigerian who honestly feels for the poor girl should take to the streets in a peaceful protest, demand arrest of all connected to these ugly images. It is a cause worth risking everything for, do it for humanity and every innocent child.
22. On Tuesday, May 4, 2021, the actor promised to protest around Lagos if all parties involved in creating the CCTV footage were not arrested.
23. That same day, the Lagos Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, released a statement that Baba Ijesha would be charged to court on 5 different charges.
24. He stated that Baba Ijesha is to be charged under the following provisions of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015: Section 135, indecent treatment of a child punishable by 7 years imprisonment; Section 137, defilement of a child-, punishable by life imprisonment; Section 261, Sexual Assault by penetration punishable by life imprisonment; Section 262, Attempted Sexual Assault by Penetration, punishable by 14 years imprisonment and Section 263, Sexual Assault punishable by three years imprisonment.
25. On Saturday, May 8, 2021, Yomi Fabiyi once again said he was going to protest. This time, if Baba Ijesha was not granted bail. As far as he was concerned, keeping him in jail was illegal and against the 48-year-olds human right. At the time, the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria was on a nationwide strike, and the courts couldnt sit for proceedings.
26. Three days later, on Tuesday, May 11, Iyabo Ojo released another video saying that she wont stop defending the alleged victim, and she would stay on the matter like the girl was her own child. She asked people to stop asking why she was taking the issue seriously, as if it was her own child that was molested, calling them the problem.
27. On May 11, Yomi Fabiyi put out a series of photos accusing Iyabo Ojo of influencing Baba Ijeshas detention, making him stay in jail without bail. He also claimed that she threatened to kill the man if he was released from police detention.
28. On May 12, Iyabo Ojo responded with an N100 million defamation lawsuit against Yomi Fabiyi. The Maverick Forte Legal, her solicitors, demanded that he take down the defamatory posts with a full retraction where he calls them false and apologises within 14 days. As of the time of this publication, he hasnt performed any of these requests. Instead, he replied by saying, I dont deal in social media court.
29. After protesting that the Police should let Baba Ijesha out on bail at Panti Police station, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, replied that they kept the actor based on legal advice from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions in the state Ministry of Justice. They confirmed that they would not release Baba Ijesha until he faced a judge.
30. Chief Magistrate Oluwatoyin Oghre granted Baba Ijesha bail on May 17 on health grounds. His lawyer, Mr Olabiran, told pressmen 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.
31. Baba Ijesha didnt leave Police detention afterwards as he could not meet up with the bail requirements. His supporters couldnt get him a grade 16 civil servant willing to put their name on the line.
32. On May 23, Nkechi Blessing, while supporting the alleged victim and pushing for the case to go through the proper process, got into trouble after one of Baba Ijeshas supporters and Yoruba actor Lege Miami accused her of being rude to him. Unmoved by his opinion, she called him out and insulted him before stating on her page that, I dont give attention to classless idiots, calling him a broke Yoruba actor.
33. On June 16, Baba Ijesha was arraigned by the Police in front of P.E Nwaka on five counts of sexual assault at a Chief Magistrate Court in Yaba. He pleaded not guilty. His counsel, Kayode Olabiran, then made a new bail application which the Magistrate denied, stating that there are indications that the case will commence at the High court.
34. On June 17, Princess alleged that Baba Ijeshas secretary and Group Co-ordinator, Makinwa Elizabeth approached her to tell her that Baba Ijesha also molested her sister. She then added, His victims are numerous and span over 20 years, for Gods sake!!!
35. The next day, on June 18, Yomi Fabiyi put out several videos trying to debunk Princess claims adding, We live in a difficult time. Be careful what you believe. Always be patient and balance your story.
36. On June 24, after applying for bail a third time, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo granted Baba Ijesha bail in the sum of N2 million and two sureties: a lawyer and a family relation. The judge ordered that the bail conditions be given within seven days while declaring that the subsequent sittings will be on July 26, 27 and 28.
37. In an Instagram post Yomi Fabiyi has deleted, he tried to extend the olive branch to Iyabo Ojo, saying that he forgives her and still considers her a good person.
38. The following day, on June 27, Iyabo Ojo replied to the message saying she doesnt understand it, and perhaps Yomi was still basking in the publicity championing Baba Ijeshas case was giving him.
39. Later that day, news broke that the Theatre Arts and Motion Pictures Practitioners Association of Nigeria (TAMPAN) has banned Iyabo Ojo and Nkechi Blessing, both of whom have been at the fore of the battle against Baba Ijesha. Noting that both actresses arent registered members of their association, they decided to bar their registered directors from hiring or working with them.
40. In his address to pressmen, Jide Kosoko, flanked by other Board of Trustees members of the association, stated that they did not ban the women because they were in support of Princess ward.
We particularly observe the continuous derogatory statements made by Iyabo Ojo against the association and the industry as a whole. Please note that we are not against her stand on the alleged rape or sexual assault as the case may be, which the association and individuals have equally condemned at one time or the other. We believe only a person without conscience will support rape or sexual assault in any form. However, Iyabo Ojos reckless accusations, abuses and embarrassment of our sector is also totally condemned. Unfortunately, Nkechi Blessing has also joined in the Ignoble tirades against the association, and by extension, the industry, and we say enough is enough!
41. Nkechi Blessing reacted by saying she would move on like they dont exist amidst prayers that God will frustrate anyone who goes the extra mile to see her cry.
42. Iyabo Ojo, on the other hand, simply said she would not be bullied.
I can never be silenced. Know that and know God. Period!
43. Several actors reacted to the ban by calling out the association and stating that their decision was distasteful.
44. On July 1, 2021, Iyabo Ojo and Nkechi Blessing apologised to TAMPAN.
45. Iyabo Ojo wrote, To an able & ever-humble president of Tampan, Mr Latin, thank you very much, sir. Our big daddies – Adebayo Salami, Prince Jide Kosoko, and Yinka Quadri, on behalf of Nkechi Blessing Sunday, my darling aburo, and my humble self, we apologise to you, sirs. Were sorry for getting you upset. Youre our elders & leaders; we respect you, were humbled before you. We will forever appreciate you & honour you. Its all Peace & Love. #justicemustbeserved.
46. On her Instagram page, Nkechi Blessing Sunday also shared, I have nothing but love and respect for TAMPAN, its members, and the elders. I acknowledge the fact that my response to Daddy Jide Kosokos threat against my career was disrespectful. For that, I sincerely apologise to him, and I say I am sorry, sir. I was driven by my emotions, but I will never be sorry for standing against rape, sexual assault and molestation of minors.
47. That same day, Mr Latin, President of TAMPAN, also apologised to the ladies for Prince Jide Kosokos words which may have come across as a witch-hunt.
If you know Jide Kosoko, you know hes a very good man. Iyabo Ojo can testify to this. On behalf of Jide Kosoko, I apologise for his words during the conference. He did not mean those words. He uttered them out of anger. He also said hes ready to embrace Iyabo Ojo and Nkechi Blessing. Also, on behalf of TAMPAN, I apologise to everyone that felt offended.
48. In a twist of events, TAMPAN also summoned Yomi Fabiyi on July 5, 2021, to face its Committee on Ethics, Conflict and Resolution for a movie he released on the Baba Ijesha saga titled Oko Iyabo.
49. In its statement, the association said, The TAMPAN Committee on Ethics, Conflict and Resolution wishes to inform the general public that the association has summoned Mr Yomi Fabiyi who is the Producer/Director of the controversial film titled OKO IYABO to appear before it on Thursday, July 11 2021. This invitation becomes very necessary because of the controversy that the subject matter of his film has generated, which is against our ethic and virtue.
50. Yomi Fabiyi released the movie on July 4, 2021, on YouTube, and it had garnered public outrage by the next day. Several Nigerians trooped to the video-sharing platform to report the film until it was pulled down.
51. Celebrities like Iyabo Ojo, Tonto Dikeh, Adebimpe Oyemade, Nkiru Umeh, DO2Dtun, Mr Macaroni have all called out the filmmaker, saying he is shameless. Many have also asked Nollywood bodies to take action on him and all the actors in the film.
52. On the other hand, Fabiyi is using cheap tactics to get the general public to forgive him by doing giveaways. He has also used the outrage to promote his other films as he awaits his trial in front of the TAMPAN board.
53. On July 7, 2021, one of Baba Ijesha’s friends, Oladele Matti, based in Dublin, created a GoFundMe account for the embattled actor, asking people to donate for his legal fees. He named the GoFundMe ‘Help Olanrewaju Omiyinka with Legal Costs’.
54. Many Nigerians have since gone on social media to register their displeasure about the donation link. At the time this story was written, the GoFundMe link was no longer available on the fund-raising site.
55. On July 9, 2021, TAMPAN indefinitely suspended Yomi Fabiyi for gross professional misconduct and unethical practices for his movie, Oko Iyabo. They also suspended his co-director, Mr Dele Matti, for three months. They then summoned all the actors in the film to appear before the Ethic, Conflict & Resolution Committee on July 24, 2021.
56. Yomi reacted by saying he isn’t a member of the association so the suspension isn’t valid. The letter is inappropriate; not valid for me as a filmmaker. Any reaction necessary will be on the basis of human rights violation if I so seek judicial redress. You cant lose what you dont have.
Note: Well keep you updated as things continue to unfold.