On Thursday, July 13, 2022, a rape case that began as a breeze on June 16, 2021, before Judge Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Lagos Special Sexual Offenses Court in Ikeja was closed; at least while waiting for the call from the defense team. In this case, the defendant, James Olanrewaju, commonly known as “Baba Ijesha”, was sentenced to 16 years in prison. Unlike so many cases in Nigeria, there is now hope for oppressed and ordinary Nigerians that justice can be served without prolonged delay; a scourge that had plagued our justice system for so long.
The case which began on April 16, 2021 with the arrest of the suspect, Baba Ijesha, who has now been convicted of some of the charges, was first heard in court on June 16, 2021. The charges before the accused had four major counts. : Indecent treatment of a child, sexual assault, attempted penetrative sexual assault and penetrative sexual assault.
At the start of the hearing, the defendant and his distinguished legal team, led by a senior lawyer from Nigeria, argued that many of the charges had been “fabricated” by the prosecution team. First, it was first alleged that the accused did not make the statement voluntarily and that the statement was made under duress and that he was coerced into signing when the statement was written to him and dictated by the police.
The rumor also claimed that the defendant had stated that the victim in question was not a minor, as the prosecution team wanted the public to believe. But during the court battle that lasted more than a year, the prosecution team which includes police and forensic experts, among others, was able to establish “substantial evidence showed the engagement and suppression of the minor on different occasions”. It was also proven that Baba Ijesha instructed the miner not to inform anyone about his nefarious activities. And on some occasions, the accused asked the victim “to sit on his lap while he exposed his private part to her”.
Worse still, it was established that the defendant had inserted a car key into the minor’s vagina. What a bloody story indeed! Such an open display of animal nature in some men. Ultimately, the accused was found guilty on two counts and sentenced to a total of 16 years in prison.
A video posted online by the defendant shortly after the verdict shows Baba Ijesha crying profusely for the injustice and hoping the truth will one day come to light. For him, this may be maliciousness taken too far since he and the victim’s mother were estranged lovers. For him, it was a mission of revenge after the loss of love between the two – whatever that means. Some members of the defense team and friends of the accused had also come out to say the case was not over yet as there is an appeal court option.
That said, the writer wants to pause and consider whether this case has any similarity to Nigerian society. A place where many take advantage of their closeness and closeness to others to do more harm to seemingly less powerful people in society. A society where a depraved person, instead of acknowledging their wrongdoings, will shout in their highest voice, “Do you know who I am? Lagos and many metropolitan cities have a larger share.
If in doubt, just drive some of the major highways in three to four days. Some drivers without a case or no one will brush against another person’s car and instead of apologizing, one begins to hear the “grammar”, the speaker does not know its meaning.
Is our society also free from attacks of all kinds? Don’t Nigerian politicians attack the sensitivities of the governed on a daily basis? Do they obey traffic laws and other basic laws and get away with it? The same goes for the average citizen. Within the family, do we constantly hear of many loose fathers or spouses assaulting the weaker species: children, daughters in particular, and the economically disadvantaged partner?
Do we have cases of these being made and openly denied simply because some have money and think justice will not be served, because the balance of justice is always in favor of the most powerful? Do we have many open cases of indecent treatment, as established against Baba Ijesha, of the (helpless) minor among us? How do our leaders treat the average Nigerian? What type of school do the children of the poor, especially in rural areas, attend? What is the quality of the education of these children? What is the quality of our transport and health infrastructures? Are ordinary people treated decently in these areas?
Can we talk about the issues of water, electricity, energy, housing and social security available to these “seemingly unfortunate members” of society?
The second charge against Baba Ijesha was sexual assault. If we open Pandora’s box here, many will go cold in prison. We know that sexual assault includes inappropriate touching, especially lustful looks that many men will indulge in, claiming to want to correct the ills of the female sex. What about obscene jokes? What about privileged employers who go too far to take advantage of innocent young women who are in desperate need of a livelihood?
What about the indecent exposure of so-called private parts of the body by both sexes in the wake of modern affirmation? Let me not shake this table too much for political correctness.
Let us examine the third accusation; attempted sexual assault by penetration. Have many of us gone too far in unnecessarily caring about the alleged bad manners of others, a case of removing the wood in our own eyes before the little stick in others? This happens daily in matters of religion, ethnicity, career, and social interactions. Yet we see nothing wrong with it.
For some, it is not just about prying too far, it is actual penetration, which is the fourth charge against Mr. James Olanrewaju aka Baba Ijesha. We do all of this with impunity, knowing that we can get away with it because of our status in society, the cash balance in our bank accounts, or loopholes in our legal system that we all know can be closed with just the touch of a finger. on point.
Does the writer put a final note on what the court confirmed and the consequences of a possible lost love between the two main players in the case, Princess and Baba Ijesha? The writer’s point of view is based solely on the information that is made available there. He is unaware of any private relationships that may have existed between two adults.
But as we have just witnessed, justice is now served.
Nigerian society, like many others, can continue to operate on this autopilot of injustice where the powerful continue to oppress the weak. What is so sure is that a day will come when justice will be done and that in its entirety.