The controversy around embattled Yoruba actor, Olanrewaju Omiyinka aka Baba Ijesha, deepened on Friday as at least two counsels have claimed to be representing him.
Adeshina Ogunlana has been at the forefront of fighting for his release. But another, Kayode Olabiran is also laying claim to be the thespian’s lawyer.
Mr Ogunlana, a former chair of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja branch, has in the last two weeks written several letters to the Lagos Commissioner of Police seeking Baba Ijesha’s bail.
He has also kept the actors’ fans abreast of the updates on the case on his Facebook page.
It was Mr Ogunlana, who doubles as the chairperson of the Radical Agenda Movement In The Nigerian Bar Association, (RAMINBA), that raised an alarm over Baba Ijesha’s deteriorating health.
But on Friday Mr Olabiran described Mr Ogunlana as a “self-paraded lawyer” in a statement.
Mr Olabiran said ”himself and one Jane Ogunbiyi are Baba Ijesha’s only legal representatives”.
Mr Olabiran said a relative of the actor, whom he did not identify, also gave credence to the fact that his (Olabiran’s) legal team are Baba Ijesha’s only recognised representative.
In addition, he said ”the actor’s relative recognises his own team as the people who facilitated his bail and not Mr Ogunlana”.
Mr Olabiran also said the actor’s family member warned him (Baba Ijesha) against making the case ”a social media matter”.
“As a family member of the accused person, we have been talking with Barrister Kayode Olabiran and Ogunbiyi and Co which was well briefed by our brother.
“The team were the lawyers who visited him and facilitated his bail and as at when I spoke last with my brother, the team of Olabiran and Co are still battling to perfect the bail. To the best of my knowledge, the delay is no longer from the police,” he quoted the unnamed relative as saying in his statement.
PREMIUM TIMES has not been able to gain access to the actor since the story broke.
Meanwhile, Mr Ogunlana told PREMIUM TIMES on Friday morning that the ‘beef’ (disagreement) between himself ”and other lawyers” (Mr Olabiran and co) representing Baba Ijesha contributed to their inability to secure his freedom.
He revealed that Baba Ijesha ”has two sets of lawyers”.
According to him, Mr Olabiran and his partner, who belong to the first set ”are the conservative group while he and his team are the radical and confrontational set.”
Reacting to Mr Ogunlana’s claim in an interview with this newspaper on Friday evening, Mr Olabiran debunked his colleague’s claim that the police were working against securing Baba Ijesha’s freedom.
“The bail condition was premised on conditions when you are granted bail, it is after the fulfilment of these conditions, that the same magistrate who granted the bail will now order the release of the suspect. We are still on the verge of meeting the conditions of the bail.
”The bail conditions include two relatives of Baba Ijesha, one civil servant of grade 16 and a refundable bond of N500,000 to be paid into the Lagos High court account,” said Mr Olabiran.
Mr Olabiran also accused his colleague, Mr Ogunlana, of “distorting facts which has in turn prompted his reaction”.
“He is mixing things up and that is why we have to come out to correct this position. Now, it is not the police that is holding Baba Ijesha.
“We have to fulfil the bail condition and the court is on strike, so, we are just lucky to have benefitted from that. Now what we are told is that the magistrate is likely coming back next Monday. So, when they come, we will be able to present what we have,” he said.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how Baba Ijesha was granted bail by Chief Magistrate Oluwatoyin Oghre on Monday evening on health grounds but his team of lawyers are yet to perfect the bail conditions at the time.