"I Was Beaten, Signed Confessional Statement Under Duress" -Baba Ijesha On Child Defilement

 James Olanrewaju, commonly known as Baba Ijesha, a Nollywood actor, has denied making a confessional statement in the Lagos State government's child defilement case.

During his trial-within-trial, Olanrewaju told Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Lagos Special Sexual Offences Court, Ikeja, that he signed the declaration under duress, according to Tribune.

Before signing the statement, the actor claims he was hit with a stick and forced to sit on the floor.

Ms Damilola Adekola a.k.a Princess, the comedinete and complainant, he added, dictated everything in the statement to the police.

During a trial-within-trial of the voluntariness of his statement before Justice Taiwo, the defendant was led in evidence by one of his lawyers, Dada Awosika (SAN).

"My clothes were shredded, and I had no choice except to sit on the ground." My whole body was trembling. The statement was shown to me; I did not volunteer the statement. It was only recently that I was asked to sign it. "Everything was dictated to them by Princess," he stated.

Under cross examination by prosecuting counsel Yusuf Sule, Baba Ijesha claimed that the content of the statement was dictated to him by the police and that he did not offer it.

He further denied knowing the complainant's present address, stating that only her previous address was known to him.

He did, however, provide his father's and mother's identities, the primary and secondary schools he attended, his age, and his decision to drop out of the University of Lagos, Akoka when he could no longer deal with a subject he was taking.

When asked by the prosecution, Baba Ijesha refused to react, claiming that the IPO could not have known his details if he did not provide any information to her.

Inspector Abigail, who was being cross-examined by Awosika, had previously stated that the defendant freely provided his statement and that it was done without pressure.

The cop insisted that she read Baba Ijesha some cautionary words, and that he assured her that he understood English and everything she read to him.

"When I was going to collect his statement, the defendant was shaking," she claimed. I offered him a chair to sit in to help him relax, but he declined, stating that he preferred sitting on the floor because it allowed him to extend his legs.

"I reassured him and told him he needed to prepare his statement." I asked him English questions, and he answered them all in English. He requested that I assist him in writing his statement because he was unable to write due to his shaking.

"After we were done, I read the statement to him, and he said he understood everything, and then he signed it."

Baba Ijesha has been charged with child molestation since April 2021, and he was arrested on April 22 and remanded in police custody.

On June 24, he was, however, released.

Baba Ijesha was given bail in the amount of N2 million with two sureties: a lawyer and a family member.

The bail terms must be approved within seven days, according to the court, who also announced that the next sittings will be on July 26 (today), 27, and 28.

He was charged with six counts of sexual assault by penetration, indecent treatment of a child, and sexual assault, all of which are punishable under sections 259, 135, and 261 of the Lagos State Criminal Law 2011, as well as 135, 263, and 262 of the Lagos State Criminal Law 2015.

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