A Yaba Chief Magistrate Court on Wednesday denied Nollywood actor Omiyinka Olanrewaju popularly known as Baba Ijesa bail, on the ground that the case has already been filed before the Lagos State High Court.
This sets the stage for his trial before a judge on alleged child molestation charges.
The court’s decision followed Baba Ijesa’s arraignment by the police and his not guilty plea to a five-count charge bothering on the offences.
The offences are indecent treatment of a child, defilement of a child, attempted sexual assault by penetration, attempted sexual assault by penetration, and sexual assault.
Defilement and sexual assault by penetration carry life imprisonment while three other counts attract seven, three and 14 years imprisonment respectively, under sections 135, 137, 261, 262 and 263 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
Mr P.E Nwaka, before whom the actor was arraigned, turned down Baba Ijesa’s application for bail on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, noting that the same charges were already before a Lagos State High Court.
Superior courts in Lagos have primacy of jurisdiction over sexual and other serious offences such as armed robbery or other offences carrying life sentences or the death penalty.
As such, magistrates’ courts are required to transfer such cases to high courts for trial, if the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP)’s report indicates a prima facie case against the suspect, like it did against Baba Ijesha on May 4, 2021.
The Yoruba movie star was arrested and detained by the police after he was alleged to have sexually molested a minor at 7 and again at 14.
He was later granted bail on May 17 – after spending about 25 days in police detention – by magistrates in charge of prison decongestion. But he has remained in police custody following his failure to meet the conditions.
Baba Ijesha was brought into the court premises yesterday around 12pm, limping.
Mr Nwaka adjourned the matter till July 13 for mention.