The trial of Nollywood actor, Olanrewaju Omiyinka popularly called Baba Ijesha resumed on Tuesday at the Lagos State Special Offences Court with the testimony of a child forensic expert, Olabisi Ajayi-Kayode.
Ajayi-Kayode is the Executive Director of the Cece Yara Foundation, a non-governmental organisation founded to prevent child sexual abuse and provide emergency intervention for children.
The witness who told the court that she is a certified child forensic interview specialist said she led the forensic team that interviewed the alleged victim of Baba Ijesha’s consecutive sexual assaults.
Led in evidence by the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mrs Olayinka Adeyemi, the expert testified that the alleged victim (names withheld) was bold, relaxed, cooperative and could recall events when she was being interviewed.
“The clinical presentation of child sexual abuse was quite evident. The perpetrator engaged the child in sexual activity when she was seven years old on two occasions, she said.
“On the 19th of April 2021, he sexually harassed her, touching her body. He told her: ‘I touched you some years back, you are so grown, so developed. Do you have a boyfriend? We have some unfinished business.
“These are the clinical presentations of child sexual abuse.
“These are the dynamics of child sexual abuse and the modus operandi of perpetrators – inculcation of secrecy, intimidation, threat or coercion,” she said.
The expert also said that child sexual abuse involved only the victim and the perpetrator, adding that because of his or her vulnerability, a child might not be able to comprehend the magnitude of the offence.
“My conclusion is that she narrated the whole truth, she was tenacious, she was bold and relaxed,” the expert said.
Ajayi-Kayode said that after the interview, she drafted a forensic interview report which was tendered in evidence along with a flash drive containing the digital recording of the interview session (which is to be viewed at the next court hearing)
The court admitted both documents as exhibits and fixed Oct 20 for the cross-examination of the witness.
Before her testimony, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo overruled the request for adjournment made by a member of the defence team representing Baba Ijesha.
The defence sought the adjournment owing to the absence of two senior advocates – Babatunde Ogala and Dada Awosika, who appeared for the Nollywood actor at previous proceedings.
Both lawyers had written to the court, asking for an adjournment on account of being indisposed and out of the country.
But the DPP who represented the state opposed the application for adjournment.
She submitted that the date of this sitting had been communicated to all counsel since August 19 and there was no basis for an adjournment.
Justice Taiwo agreed with her and ruled that the case must continue. She ordered the state to call its third prosecution witness.