Baba Ijesha
Baba Ijesha

Defilement: Actress Princess reacts as court jails Baba Ijesha for 16 years

Nollywood actor, Olanrewaju James, popularly known as Baba Ijesha has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for sexual assault involving a minor.

On Thursday, Oluwatoyin Taiwo, the judge presiding over the case at Ikeja special offences court in Lagos, convicted Baba Ijesha of indecent treatment of a child, sexual assault, and attempted sexual assault in a two-hour judgment.

“I hereby found the defendant guilty of counts two to five and he is discharged of counts one and six. The defendant is hereby sentenced to five years imprisonment for count two,  three years for count three, five years for count four and three years for count five.”

Taiwo added that the jail term will run concurrently. This means Baba Ijesha will technically serve five years imprisonment.

He was exonerated of the offence of sexual by penetration, which deals with allegedly sexually assaulting the minor by penetration with his car key seven years ago and attempted sexual assault by penetration during another encounter with the minor in April 2021.

The court found him guilty and convicted him on: indecent treatment of a child and sexual assault of a minor between 2013 and 2014.
  
The court held that the prosecution successfully proved counts two and three that he indecently placed the survivor on his lap and rubbed his penis on her body.
   
He was also found guilty of counts four and five, where he was accused of indecently touching the same minor and sexually assaulting her seven years later, by rubbing her body and sucking her fingers.
  
The court held that the defendant confessed that he molested the girl in 2021.

Taiwo ruled; “The court can convict a person based on his confessions. The defendant was consistent in his admission in the two videos.

“The pain of the first prosecution witness (Damilola Adekoya Princess) was real. The girl was scared and we could see the fears in her eyes while she was giving her evidence before the court. She was compelled to make her evidence.

“The argument of the defence that the prosecution failed to state the exact age of the survivor cannot stand as the law states that anyone under the age of 18  years is regarded as a child.

“The defendant may not have thought of having sex with the survivor on that day but he aroused her by sucking her fingers and rubbing her body. He did not take off his clothes while arousing her.”

Baba Ijesha was arraigned on June 24, 2021. During the trial, six prosecution witnesses testified against him.

They are Princess, the 14-year-old minor, Olabisi Ajayi-Kayode, a child expert; Aniekan Makanjuola, a medical doctor; Wahab Kareem, the investigating police officer; and Abigail Omane, a policewoman.

While testifying, Makanjuola revealed before the court how the minor (name withheld) was allegedly defiled Baba Ijesha.

“Our findings were that there was a blunt penetration of the vagina which was consistent with the client’s history,” she said.
Makanjuola, a trained forensic medical examiner, is Head of Clinical Services at Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF). She was testifying as the fourth prosecution witness.

She said: “We took her to the consulting room and she gave a history of the events from seven-year ago. She did not mention these incidents to her mother but it began to affect her mood and academic performance.

“She disclosed what happened to her mother’s friend on April 16 who in turn informed her mother. We decided to do an examination.

“There was a normal external genitalia, we observed a healed laceration on the labia minora at the 3’0Clock position; we also observed a notch at the 6’0 clock position”.

Baba Ijesha however in his defence told the court that the foster mother of the minor, Ms Damilola Adekoya, a comedian also known as Princess, had called and requested him to be part of a movie production.

“On April 19, 2021, Princess sent me a message that she wanted to start a production and she would like me to play the role of a lover boy which I replied ‘okay’.

“She said I was to play the role of a lover boy adding that she wanted to surprise people that I can also play normal roles.

“She said the story is about rape and she wanted to tell the story in another dimension,” he said.

The defence counsel tendered before the court, a printout of WhatsApp messages between Princess and the defendant, which was admitted into evidence by Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo.

The embattled actor said he asked Princess for the movie location but she told him to come over to her house.

“Before I entered, Princess met me at the balcony that the movie production was a Lagos State project, adding that the state wanted her to be the face of ‘anti-child molestation.’

“She told me to improvise and create a story by myself. I told her the house was dark when I entered. She said we should rehearse and that she would use her phone.

“Princess told me to kiss and suck the breast of the child, adding that the dress the girl was wearing was purposely for the role the girl wanted to play.

“She would leave the room so that the child would not be shy to play out the role.

“All those things we are seeing in that video is just acting. My lord check my record when it comes to acting, I can kill myself and die for acting. She was the one directing and filming my angles,” he said.

Baba Ijesha told the court that himself and Princess were directors of the movie, adding that she told him he could act out the scene in the kitchen as well.

“She told me I could go into the kitchen as well. She told the girl in question you remember what I told you, when I leave the room now, act out your role perfectly.

“The girl removed my shoe and I started acting out my role. I romanced her based on the movie role Princess gave me.

“As I was acting with the girl, kissing and licking her fingers, I was also whispering to her ‘hey do not look at the camera’.

“Suddenly, I saw like eight people including Princess, entered the room and started beating the girl.

“I even thought it was part of acting. She beat her and said ‘idiot is that what I asked you to do’. One of the men gave me a blow and alleged that I raped the girl,” he said.

The defendant further told the court that he was shocked when he was being beaten and thought that the men who meted out the beating were amateur actors because they are not meant to use actual physical violence in movie scenes.

Baba Ijesha said that he was forced in one of the viral videos by Princess to admit that he defiled the minor.

“Princess said “you know I love you, just tell me that seven years ago you used your car key to disvirgin the girl” that she would allow me  to go if I said so.

“I had to accept under pressure so that the men would not injure me the more, after Princess invited one police officer named Abigail, before I was taken to Sabo Police Station after,” he told the court.

The defendant said he was forced to sign a statement which was not written by him at the police station.

“The statement in question profiled me because I have all my information online and Princess knows all my information as well.

“Immediately, Abigail asked me to sign and I did just that, she took me back to the cell and I stayed there till the following morning,” he said.

The judge, while sentencing the convict said : “The is very sad. The behaviour of the defendant is appalling, the case showed the length people can go in exhibiting the animalistic urge in them by abusing the position of friendship.

“The defendant took his acting too far. Children are frequently preyed on because of their inability to defend themselves.

Baba Ijesha after the judgment broke down in tears, weeping and saying he did not commit the offence. He was however surrounded by his colleagues in the industry who came to console him.  

After he was convicted, the actor was escorted from the courtroom by two prison wardens.

In a jubilating mood, Princess is seen in a TikTok video captioned “God is not man” and mimed a Christian song of personal victory.

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