The embattled Yoruba actor, Olanrewaju James, popularly known as, “Baba Ijesha” has lost out in his bid to be granted bail by the magistrate court in Lagos.
On Wednesday, the police in Lagos arraigned Baba Ijesha on an 5-count charge bothering on rape, sexual assault and abuse of a minor.
Mr Olanrewaju was brought into the premises of the magistrate court around 12 noon, and alongside other suspects.
The actor was limping and visibly shaking – an appearance which suggests a bad health condition.
Shortly after his arrival, he was arraigned before P.E Nwaka, a Magistrate at the Yaba magistrate court.
The offences contravene sections 135, 137, 261, 2020 262 and 263 of the Lagos State Criminal Law 2015.
The actor pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.
Giving his submission, the prosecutor in the matter, S.A Adebesin told the magistrate that information had been filed before the High Court on the matter by the state prosecution.
Following the submission, the counsel to the defendant, Kayode Olabiran made a fresh application for the bail of Mr Olanrewaju.
The lawyer added that the controversial nature of the case has made it difficult to secure his release despite his bail as intending sureties were scared of the likely consequences.
The conditions of the bail are two sureties, one being a relative of the defendant and another a level 16 officer of the Lagos State Civil Service, and a bail bond of N500,000.
Supporting the application for bail for his client, Mr Olabiran said the actor has remained in police custody because one of the bail conditions is yet to be met.
“On May 17, the Ministry of Justice, the Judiciary, the NBA and the police took an initiate to decongest jam-packed cells across the State. My client was one of the beneficiaries and the conditions given are two sureties, one must be a blood relation and another surety not less than level 16 in the Lagos State government civil service.
“The elder brother to the defendant has appeared as a surety and we have paid the N500, 000 bail bond to the account of the Lagos State government but we have not been able to get level 16 officer to stand as surety,” Mr Olabiran said.
Explaining further, the lawyer said they got three different level 16 officers but one turned them down along the line and two others declined upon hearing that they need to get a clearance letter from the head of service.
“The level 16 officers are afraid of being issued a query and a level 16 is an Assistant Director and upward, they are scarce commodities.
“We are applying for bail on a compassionate ground and in the interest of justice,” Mr Olabiran said, urging the magistrate to consider the visibly ill health of his client.
In his ruling, the judge, P. E Nwaka held that the court can not grant the actor bail because the matter is beyond its jurisdiction. The judge also explained that the case has already been filed before the high court.
Also, Yetunde Cardoso, Superintendent of Police in Charge of the case, said; “The matter is now beyond the police. Mr Olanrewaju was actually granted bail during the JUSUN strike and based on the conditions given, he couldn’t meet them and he was properly charged on Wednesday.”
“Just like the court stated, the case has already been filed before the high court and the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) of Lagos State Ministry of Justice has taken over the matter from the police.”
“So presently, we have handed over to the DPP so the case is before them (DPP). It has nothing to do with the police anymore, it’s now left for the DPP to handle it.”
Recall that Baba Ijesha was arrested and detained by the Lagos State Police for allegedly molesting a 14year old girl since she was 7.
However, the actor was granted bail on May 17 by magistrates in charge of prison decongestion after spending some days in police detention. But Baba Ijesha has remained in police custody despite the bail.