The alleged sexual misconduct against a 14 year old girl by Yoruba actor Olanrewaju James popularly called Baba Ijesha seem to have divided the Nigerian Theatre family, following different opinions by members
Penpushing reports that since the news broke last week Monday which has landed Baba Ijesa in police detention, number of Yoruba actors have expressed divergent views on the matter, while some are sympathetic to the actor’s plight; others are drumming support towards dragging him to court to face justice.
The divided house is almost turning to ‘roforofo’ fight among members, while one of the leading actor, Iyabo Ojo in a video, called out and slammed her colleagues who are drumming support for the embattled actor.
The female actor cautioned her colleagues to desist from demanding to see the CCTV footage on social media as a minor was involved, calling on the suspect’s supporters to stop defending the actor and stand by the truth.
‘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 emphasised
Penpushing further reports that, in his own remarks, Rotimi Makinde, another prominent actor in his facebook lent his voice to the defilement case stating 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.
Penpushing also reports that, Makinde, expressed concern with the way the matter went viral, arguing that it seems people wanted the “movie star” “down.” ,and called for need to exercise patience on the controversial issue
“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”, he said
Penpushing reports that, another 40 year old actress, Biodun Okeowo, on her instagram vowed to lay curses on Baba Ijesa, if he is eventually found guilty of the allegations, and also demanded that footage of the alleged crime should be made public.
“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”, she said
Penpushing further reports Tonto Dike, a Nollywood actress in a number of her posts with different captions, described Baba Ijesha as an “evil man.”, adding that “anyone with information on this , pleases contact me. This evil man must not be released (and must) not be granted bail.”
The actress called her followers to join her call for justice for the innocent girl by reposting and tagging foreign and local authorities, stressing that if Baba Ijesa is found guilty she will personally make sure he never sees the light of the day.
Penpushing also reports that, a Yoruba filmmaker, Kehinde Adams popularly called Legemiami, while reacting to Tonto Dike comments, described her as a “nonentity’, just as he called on Nigerians to allow the police conduct their investigations before casting a guilty verdict against the actor .
The Yoruba filmmaker also demanded to see the CCTV camera that captured the actor in the act, blaming his colleagues to have allowed Tonto the opportunity to cast aspersions at Bba Ijesa without proof.
Penpushing reports that, Adams condemned Dike for her failure to visit the police station to get her facts right before accusing the actor, stressing that if the suspect is indeed guilty, he will be jailed, if not, he will regain his freedom.
The umbrella body of the theatre association, it is recalled has, however, condemned the defilement allegations levelled against Baba Ijesa casting a guilty verdict on him while expressing sympathy for the family of the alleged victim
Penpushing also reports that, the Theatre Arts and Motion Pictures Practitioners Association of Nigeria(TAMPAN) in a statement by its spokesman Yemi Amodu, on Saturday vowed to support government in its bid to ensure that ignoble acts are checked within the society.
“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’, the statement reads.
“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 norms of our people and behaviour will always be homiletic”.
Penpushing reports that, it is recalled that the Lagos State Police Command had announced the arrest of the comic actor on Tuesday for sexually assaulting a 14 year old girl, since she was 7 years old
The Command Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi in a statement explained that the suspect was arrested following a complaint last week Monday at Sabo Police Station in Yaba area of the state.
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