Lagos Police Commissioner, Hakeem Odumosu has debunked claim of the command having plans of releasing popular Yoruba actor, Baba Ijesha who was arrested for allegedly defiling Comedienne Princess’ 14-year-old daughter.
Odumosu who told newsmen that the allegation against Baba Ijesha was sexual/ indecent assault which is bailable and not defilement, said the suspect was still being held at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) Panti pending legal advice from the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).
The police commissioner also disclosed that he interviewed all parties involved in the case for about three hours, and it was established the alleged defilement took place seven-years-ago but was not reported.
“You don’t do trial on the pages of newspapers. There are two issues in Baba Ijesha’ case. One is the allegation that he defiled a girl seven-years-ago .The girl is now 14 years old. At that time no compliant or report was made to the police.
“Last week, a video went viral where he was arrested for having sexual assault. What is meant by indecent assault? When a man touches a woman where he is not supposed to without her authority or consent.
“Baba Ijesha admitted that he sexually assaulted the girl. The case of defilement that happened seven years ago is still under thorough investigations and will require some scientific work.
“Sexual assault is a bailable offence. It is not like rape. No allegation of rape was made against him. Throughout yesterday, they were all with me, including the girl that was assaulted and Baba Ijesha’ himself. I listened to them, one after the other.
“We have compiled the case file and we have sent it to the office of DPP and the office of the Attorney General of Lagos State for legal advice.
“Once that comes out, action will be taken based on legal advice. Till then, Baba Ijesha’ is still in our custody. The case is bailable but we have not considered him for bail.”
Yesterday, through a senior officer, the Lagos State Police Command confirmed that a directive has been issued to release Baba Ijesha from police custody within the next 24 hours.
According to PUNCH, this is partly due to the ongoing strike by members of the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria, which has made it impossible for the courts to sit, and the suspect could not be detained indefinitely without trial.
The source added an investigation into the recent allegation against the Yoruba actor revealed that he did not defile the victim, and the victim also confirmed it when questioned.
Irrespective of granting Baba Ijesha bail, an ongoing investigation would continue, as the command had also sought legal opinion from the state Ministry of Justice, the source added.
The senior police officer stated,
“There was no case of defilement, people are just talking out of sentiment. They are not talking from the point of law. We interviewed all parties involved in the case for three hours today (Wednesday).
“The mother complained that her child was at the age of seven when she was defiled and the child pointed at Baba Ijesha. But the case was not reported until she was 14 years and under the law, the case has become statute-barred.
”Regarding this new case, the CCTV footage has been assessed and nowhere was it captured that Baba Ijesha defiled her. The footage only showed him touching the victim’s body but it never showed him having any sexual intercourse with the girl. The girl also confirmed the same thing.“
“So, in law, it is a case of indecent assault and not sexual harassment, and it is open to bail. So, can we continue to keep him when the offence is subject to bail and when there is no court sitting? That is against his fundamental human rights and the police do not work on sentiments. Directives have been given out for his release on bail.”