Scores of the Nollywood actors have appeared to be differ in their stance concerning the rape allegations leveled against their colleague, Olanrewaju James aka Baba Ijesha.
Recalls that we had earlier reported that the operatives of the Police in Lagos on 22nd April, 2021 arrested Baba Ijesha for defiling and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old minor since she was 7 years old.
According to the police spokesperson, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said that: “The case of defilement was reported on 19th April, 2021 by one Princess Adekola Adekanya ‘f’ at Sabo Police Station and transferred to the Gender Unit of the State CID, Panti, Yaba Lagos for proper investigation
“Based on preliminary findings, the suspect started sexually assaulting the victim, 14 years, since she was 7 year old. The suspect confessed to the crime and was also captured by a CCTV camera in the house of the complainant.
“The Commissioner of Police,Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu, has ordered for proper investigation as he promised to do justice in the matter.”
The development has continued to generate heated backlash, with many Nigerians demanding thorough investigation into the matter and prosecution of the actor if found guilty.
Since the news came to the fore, several Yoruba actors have expressed mixed views on the matter.
While some set of actors appear sympathetic to the actor’s plight, others are drumming support in the fight for justice for the defiled minor.
The Theatre Arts and Motion Pictures Practitioners Association of Nigeria (TAMPAN), says it would ensure justice is served in the case of alleged defilement of a minor involving Baba Ijesha, its member.
In a statement by Yemi Amodu, its director of research and documentation, TAMPAN condemned the development, noting that the association would never support such “ignoble acts.”
“We find it obligatory to condemn in totality the odious occurrence of pedophilia confessed to by Mr. Olanrewaju James aka Baba Ijesha as confirmed by the police. Our association TAMPAN is crestfallen about this act and will reproach and remonstrate the committer of such exclusive sexual harassment to prepubescent children,” it read.
“Considering the sensitivity of the case, which is still under investigation according to Lagos state commissioner of Police, TAMPAN will never support all acts against what we preach and represent. As an association, we understand the mores and social norm of our people and our behavior will always be homiletic. Therefore, we would not fail to support government in its bid to do justice towards ensuring that such ignoble acts are checked within our society.”
The association said the development has demonstrated the need for parents to give their children the freedom to always express themselves so as to tackle the scourge in the society.
“We sympathise with the parents of the victim and also seize this opportunity to charge all parents to give their children or wards freedom to express themselves for a timely arrest of such horrible acts whenever such are committed,” it added.
“Finally, we will always stand for actions that are morally standard and continue to be law-abiding.”
Over the weekend,a veteran actress, Iyabo Ojo blasted her colleagues who are drumming support for the embattled actor.
In a video she captioned, “Please let’s be mindful in my industry, this is a very sensitive issue and we should all remember that a 14 years old child is involved,” she urged Baba Ijesha’s supporters to stop defending the actor and stand by the truth.
She also asked her colleagues to desist from demanding to see the CCTV footage on social media as a minor was involved.
Also, another actor, Rotimi Makinde, said on his Facebook, that people should “show love” and give the actor the benefit of doubt as he has not been pronounced guilty in any law court.
“Baba Ijesha, the popular comedian deserves some benefit of the doubt until a court of competent jurisdiction proves him guilty of any offence. I understand he was alleged to have committed an illegal act…Or is it a crime to be a movie star!,” he said.
He said with the way the matter went viral, it seems people wanted the “movie star” “down.”
“Let’s be patient, show the accused some love even as we condemn any bad acts and to stop jumping to conclusions on his alleged assault on a minor… it’s like some of us want him down before now?”
“Crime is bad but crucification of any suspect on its own is also a crime…Of course we can pity the alleged victim.”
Another actress, Biodun Okeowo, also vowed to lay curses on her colleague, if he is eventually found guilty of the allegations.
The 41-year-old actress demanded to be shown the CCTV footage.
She wrote on Instagram, “Please who has the footage where the disgusting, abominable and unimaginable act is being committed? Or at least his confession. I have some unused curses if he’s found guilty!
”This is hard to believe. Crestfallen is even an understatement… I’m emotionally shattered. Can’t wrap it off my head.”
Tonto Dike and Lege Miami too
Meanwhile, Nollywood actress, Tonto Dike, in a series of posts with different captions, described Baba Ijesha as an “evil man.”
In one of her posts, she said “anyone with information on this , pleases contact me. This evil man must not be released (and must) not be granted bail.”
She urged her followers to join her call for justice for the victim by reposting and tagging foreign and local authorities.
In another post, she said if he is found guilty, she will personally make sure he never sees the light of the day.
However, the actress’ rants did not go down well with Kehinde Adams aka Legemiami, a Yoruba filmmaker, who described her as a “nonentity.”
In two videos he shared online, he appealed to Nigerians to allow the police conduct their investigations before casting a guilty verdict against the actor .
Like Okeowo, he also demanded to see the CCTV camera that captured the actor in the act.
He said his colleagues gave Tonto the opportunity to cast aspersions at the actor without proof.
He also said the actress has not gone to the police station to get her facts right before accusing the actor.
He then said that if the actor is indeed guilty, he will be jailed, if not, he will regain his freedom.
Following the videos, he captioned other subsequent videos “say no to rape.”
Countering Adams, “It’s a celebrity, so we all want to see cctv camera first? If it is non celebrity he is GUILTY…,” Tonto Dike said in her response.
She further questioned the filmmaker “ my question for you is, are you also a paedophile?”
Other actors in the Yoruba movie industry are yet to react to the latest development.