The sexual assault case against Olanrewaju Omiyinka, a Nollywood actor also called Baba Ijesha, is statute-barred, Punch Metro has quoted a police source to have said.
The medium said a senior police officer said a directive has been given for the actor’s release.
Baba Ijesha was detained by police after he was allegedly caught on CCTV sexually molesting a 14-year-old girl. A statement by Olumuyiwa Adejobi, spokesman of the Lagos State Police Command, had said the actor confessed to the act and had been detained while investigation is ongoing.
However, Punch Metro reports that the actor will be released due to the ongoing strike by members of the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria, which has stopped court sitting. It added that the suspect cannot be detained indefinitely without trial.
“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,” it quoted the source to have said.
“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.”
The source, however, said that despite granting Omiyinka bail, investigation would continue, adding that the command had also sought legal opinion from the state Ministry of Justice.
The source added, “A test was recently done on the victim and it was discovered that she had penetration. Is it the penetration of seven years that is still evident now, and who penetrated her then? Is there any medical report linking the man (Omiyinka) to the crime?
“The CCTV footage never showed Baba Ijesha defiling her, but he confessed to touching her body indecently and apologised, and the girl confirmed the same.
“Investigation is still ongoing and we have instructed them to conduct a medical examination on the victim at a government recognised medical facility. We are not specialists in the field and we have also sought legal opinion from the Ministry of Justice.”