A Yaba Chief Magistrate Court on Wednesday remanded popular Nollywood actor, Omiyinka James Olanrewaju, popularly known as Baba Ijesha in detention pending his proper arraignment before a high court that has jurisdiction to handle his trial.
Magistrate Peter Nwaka gave this ruling today when the Baba Ijesha matter came up before him.
Already, Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions has filed a five count charge on sexual assault against him before the High Court.
Chief Magistrate Oluwatoyin Oghre initially granted him bail on May 16, 2021 on the condition of providing two sureties. One of the sureties must be of Level 10 Officer while the other must be a blood relation, he said. The bail is set at N700,000 for each of them.
Omiyinka was arraigned before the court today to answer to rape charges following the suspension of a months long industrial action by judicial workers.
The Magistrate stated that the magistrate has no jurisdiction to rule on the bail because the government has filed the case at the High Court.
Baba Ijesha was brought into the premises of the magistrate court around 12pm, and amongst other suspects. The actor was limping and visibly shaking – an appearance which suggests a bad health condition.
The court clerk read out five count charges of indecent treatment of a child, defilement of a Child, sexual assault by penetration, attempted sexual assault by penetration and sexual assault-which contravenes sections 135, 137, 261, 202, 262 and 263 of the Lagos State Criminal Law 2015.
The actor pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.
While in the dock, Baba Ijesha showed signs of discomfort as he kept bending intermittently. The concerned magistrate, noticing the stress of the defendant, asked if he was fine.
“Are you okay? Do you want to sit down? Give him a chair to sit on,” the magistrate said.
Giving his submission, the prosecutor in the matter, S.A Adebesin told the magistrate that an 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 to bail the defendant.
Mobolaji Owoebute-Okedeji, a counsel from the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) opposed the bail. “The matter has been already filed at the High Court,” he said, giving reason for his opposition.
Giving his ruling, Mr Nwaka said he cannot grant the defendant bail because there are indications that the case will commence at the High court.
“This is a situation of lack of jurisdiction, because once a case is filed at an upper court, the lower court, being the magistrate in this case, ceases to have jurisdiction over the same matter.
“I have carefully considered the application of the counsel to the defendant seeking bail for the defendant and the opposition by the counsel from the DPP.
“Since there are indications that the matter is before the high court and the defendant will appear before the court, no bail can be given.
“The defendant must be accorded full medical attention by the authorities pending his arraignment at the high court,” the magistrate said.
Mr Nwaka adjourned the matter till July 13 for mention.
The court ruled that Baba Ijesha will remain in detention till he is tried at the High Court.
Nollywood Actor Yomi Fabiyi and other supporters as well as family members of Baba Ijesha were in court to witness the proceedings.
Baba Ijesha has been in legal trouble since April 22, 2021, when the Lagos State Police Command announced his arrest for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in the care of popular comedienne, Adekola Adekanya, otherwise called Princess.