Adesina Ogunlana, one of the lawyers to Baba Ijesha, an embattled Nollywood actor, says his client is still in detention because the police are allegedly trying to monetize his bail.
The actor was arrested and detained by the Lagos state police after he was alleged to have sexually assaulted a minor at 7 and 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 despite the bail, the 48-year-old, whose real name is Olanrewaju James, has remained in police custody.
In a Facebook video on Thursday, Ogunlana faulted the police for the actor’s continued detention despite providing the two sureties demanded as condition for his release on bail.
“There has been a lot of intervention in this matter. When the news of his being granted bail was broken, a lot of Nigerians reacted with joy and excitement,” he said.
“The gentleman is innocent of all the charges, he was unjustly detained in excess of time. The problem is not with the judiciary. The judiciary has been proactive, in spite of the JUSUN strike, the judiciary decided to move to where the victims are.
“I was there on Tuesday and the senior police officer was hostile. I had an interesting interface with her. She led me to where Baba Ijesha is and he looked depressed and almost lifeless. He was just nodding his head and the senior police officer attacked me for saying that he is lean.
“I said it was what I saw. She said that I have to work with a particular lawyer. And I queried that. I cannot plead for what is the right of our client. They termed that confrontational.
“I asked Ijesha where are your people? He said his phone is with the senior officer and he could not reach them. I demanded the phone and another drama began. She insisted that a particular lawyer must represent Baba Ijesha.
“I told her that it is not acceptable. She did not allow us to access anything and I left around 1 pm.
“Later, when my team got to the police officers’ office, issues about money came up. They said the bail bond needs to be paid and they had to check Baba Ijesha’s phone to know the amount he has. The police said money has to be paid.
“Meanwhile, the sureties were ready and around. But they insisted that bail has to be paid. I told them this is a bail bond, not physical payment. I challenged the police to refute this.
“How can you be monetising bail? A burden that the magistrate has not imposed. Don’t give the judiciary a bad name. There was no demand for money by the magistrate. She never ordered that money should be paid.”
He also attributed the situation to the disagreement between him and other lawyers of the actor, whom he claimed are accusing him of trying to “steal glory” in the case.
“Baba Ijesha has two sets of lawyers. The first set is the conservative group, and the other one is led by me – we are radical and confrontational,” he added.
“They said that our crusade is too strong for them and it is antagonising the police. They said the police have been cooperating since we came into the matter. I don’t know why they will say the police are cooperating despite keeping him in detention for up to a month.
“I had spoken with the colleague that the senior police officer preferred to handle the case. While we were speaking, the issue of someone planning to steal their glory came in. I wondered which glory is being stolen.”
The state police command has not reacted to his claim as of the time of this report.