•Reveals To City People
•When He Visited Him @ PANTI Police Station
If there is one actor who is taking a lot of heat from the Baba Ijesha and Princess rape saga right now, it is popular actor and producer, Yomi Fabiyi. Ever since the rape/child molestation incident involving Lanre Omiyinka a.k.a Baba Ijesha and Comedienne, Princess’ 14 year old foster child broke out, Yomi has been the target of cyberbullying from both his colleagues and the general public. His offence? That he dared to sue for calm, asking that people should give Baba Ijesha benefit of the doubt for now until the Police are done with their investigation.
Star actress, Iyabo Ojo, was the first to go on social media to take on her colleague, Yomi Fabiyi, and shred him to bits. And ofcourse, Yomi, not one to back down from a fight himself, took the battle to Iyabo Ojo and they have been at it ever since.
Last week, the duo of City People’s Senior Editor, WALE LAWAL (08037209290), and City People’s Senior Reporter, ISAAC ABIMBADE paid Yomi Fabiyi a visit. It was a visibly livid and intensely passionate Yomi that spoke to us for over an hour. He revealed to us his conversation with Baba Ijesha when he visited him at Panti where he’s been in Police custody and shared with us some information that we are sure many will find extremely shocking. Here are excerpts of the interview.
Can you once again in clear terms explain to us your position on the Baba Ijesha and Princess saga? You have said time and time again that you have been grossly misunderstood on the issue. Can you tell us your position?
I think basically from the angle of humanity, anything that concerns a child should concern all of us. We were once children. As a matter of fact, every adult owns every child the responsibility to care for them. Children first. So my position is clear on this matter. I’m against any form of abuse like rape, child molestation etc. I will never be in support of any evil act against children. However, we have to understand one thing, we have to give the benefit of the doubt to our colleague because we haven’t heard from him and he hasn’t been tried. It would be wrong to say because somebody has accused you and I will just jump to conclusion. Don’t forget that when celebrities are accused, even if it’s just a small issue, it gets blown up. I am concerned about the minor but the fact is that I must not be too emotional because emotion can lead to misjudgement. And this has to do with Baba Ijesha. The last accusation that we had to deal with was the Baba Suwe case which I played a very key role in because he’s my boss. And looking at how it all started with Baba Suwe; no single thing was found during his one month and half incarceration. So when another person in the industry has been arrested, the onus is on me to allow the due process of the law take its course since he has already been arrested and investigation is ongoing. And that was why I quickly responded the way I did because I have an NGO in Human Right called Break The Silence Foundation. I choose to do human right. I could have said let me go into a farm or any other easy stuff. Everybody knows Human right is difficult. Even if it’s your father infringing on the right of another person, you mustn’t support your father. So I’m ready for any challenge because I want to do the right thing. I want to ensure we have a peaceful and serene environment and that’s what many of us go abroad to enjoy. It is wrong for anyone to think I unwisely support Baba Ijesha for what he did. They should be able to separate it. I will never support what Baba Ijesha did but I have a moral right to give him the support he deserves, to a large extent that would not compromise my stand as a human right activist, and that I have never breached. But because of Social media, a lot of people brag and display ignorance; they don’t know anything and they will tell you they know and when you join issues with them online/offline, you will get a clear picture but my position is clear and loud; I’m not in support of rape, child molestation. I have gone to different Lagos Charity homes. I have dedicated my life to charity.
Has your colleague, Iyabo Ojo, seen reason with you on your position; does she has a clearer picture now of your position on the issue or both of you are still throwing fireworks?
To be quite honest with you, before that event, Iyabo that I knew seems to be a calm, reasonable person and kind-hearted. She would call me before our fracas if she wants to contribute to what I do and she would ask me how she can come in and help those in need. She would offer the help she can. She sees me as someone who always wants to know what’s going on with people and help and she’s always helping as well. But I was so shocked because this lady is just a phone call away from me and she could’ve asked me that, Yomi, why did you put up a post that we should wait for the due course of the law before we judge? And why did you compare the Baba Suwe story with this because I have seen this video/confession and it’s horrible? She didn’t do that. She just felt that’s not necessary, and she feels she can go to social media and bash Yomi. And because she’s speaking from the angle of a pained victim and mother, of course, she has the largest following. She fired at me. But you don’t subject people to cyberbullying. And immediately she bashed me, people started tagging me with all sorts of names. I take exception to that behaviour. She tried calling me; she called twice on Whatsapp, I didn’t pick and then I messaged her immediately I dropped the call I was receiving. She said Yomi, she made her position known on why she was talking and I told her that Iyabo, I am not living in your house and I don’t know what you have seen. I told her she should explain to other people what she had seen and not condemning people and she said she’s sorry…She messaged me and said she’s sorry for subjecting me to cyberbullying, that the video wasn’t just about you but those who joined you. I thought it would end there and suddenly on the third day, Princess now did a video and gave an account of what happened and that gathered another massive reaction. I think she now felt she should join the train and that was when she came to my page again to attack me. And that was when I said okay if that’s what you want I will also give it to you but I won’t back down on what I have said, which is to allow the due process; allow the police to do their job and then we can now say maybe what he’s been accused of is true or not and we haven’t seen the video online then. But I told her that the fact that you have subjected me to cyberbullying for stating what’s right means you are not informed. Because she was saying things that were based on objectives and not facts. And when they know I have visited Baba Ijesha they turned to me again. I went there and I said Baba (Ijesha), I need to speak with you. And it’s not that we are close; he doesn’t know where I live. He hasn’t appeared in my movies for 18 years since I have been producing movies. But I must not act otherwise because he’s my colleague in the industry. So, I told them at the police station that I needed to see him and they brought him out. He said Yomi and I said, sir! I said I want you to tell me in all honesty, did you rape the young girl? Because I was already having images in my head and I don’t want to believe he’s the one.
And I asked him to tell me; did you rape the girl? And he said, Yomi, there was never a time I raped this lady! And this lady never said I raped her. But the Police said you confessed to the crime and the statement from the police reads Baba Ijesha rape allegation. What is in the video and what did you confess you did then? He said Yomi, they showed me the CCTV and they came in started battering, torturing me. But I know what I did was not right and I said to him, did you touch the girl; a 14-year-old girl? And he said I don’t even know her age. I know I touched the girl. I kissed her hand. I told him not to say anything again because I felt he might be dodging some things and I requested the video but I was denied. But I told him if he did what people have been saying, I would be so disappointed in him. And he told me he needed a lawyer and I also asked if anybody has visited him from the industry. He told him only one person came and she came on the instruction of the TAMPAN President to ask for the situation of things. After then I gave him some money. But because I was there (I went to see Baba Ijesha), they thought I went to tell the police another thing or something else happened when I visited him. Is it wrong for a colleague to show moral support to a colleague and wants to know the true account? I will never forsake anybody that I know is good in time of trouble. I asked him and he told me that he’s not a paedophile. This girl looks like an adult to me, Yomi.
In the video that was released by Princess, she said the girl was raped 7 years ago and that Baba Ijesha didn’t have sex with her then that he only inserted key into her private part. So I said is that what made the girl misbehave in school? It’s not correlating. That was when I began to say maybe somebody is trying to bring someone down.
First, on no account should anybody use a child set up anybody. This is the child you said has been molested and now you were able to convince an innocent child to submit her body for another molestation? If I know you are a sex predator, a Paedophile, I should use the last breathe in me to ensure that you do not touch that child. Because what happened in the video is like telling that girl to release her body to be molested. That he would put his finger into you, please don’t worry I’m videoing it. He would fondle your breasts, endure it. That’s what I saw in the video. That’s too bad. I’m not surprised at all. A lot of Nigerians are on social media when they should be in the Library. The first mistake of Princess was to involve the girl in the investigation. I’m not saying don’t confront Baba Ijesha. The deed has been done 7 years ago and the most experienced investigator can’t unravel what happened 7 years ago. What happened today can never be connected to 7 years ago. It’s vendetta. You speak the truth you die, you don’t speak the truth you vanish. That’s why I always tell people to control their anger. It’s a premeditated crime. You brainwashed the girl. The girl could say I don’t want to do this but if she talks too much she could be starved. No child should be made to go through that type of thing in Nigeria.
From the CCTV I watched also, how can the video end when Baba Ijesha was touching the girl? Who controlled the CCTV? So it’s been doctored. Why didn’t CCTV capture when people rushed in?
But does it take away the fact that Baba Ijesha committed a crime with the evidence from the CCTV?
I’m not a judge but it’s extremely wrong. I’m disappointed in him. That’s not too much for me to say because he caused it. No parent would subject their daughter to go through that and it’s because it’s not her child. If you are a good parent you don’t have to wait to set somebody up. A good parent would confront you and say what did you do to my daughter 7 years ago? Whether he denies it or not, I know that would be the last time you get close to my family. And you then go on to report the case to the police and he would be under watch. That is the normal procedure. It’s a criminal offence to set anybody up. You torture Baba Ijesha and you obtained statements from him under duress. If anybody does that it’s a criminal offence.
The Social Service didn’t ask Princess that you claimed you adopted this child, what’s the legal framework of adoption? Who is the social worker assigned to you that was told the girl was raped 7 years ago? Another interesting part is that the girl confessed to having had sex, not with Baba Ijesha but with someone who is close to Princess and he’s in the police custody. Nobody is talking about that. You can quote me on this, except the Police would lie. Somebody has been arrested because the girl confessed Baba Ijesha didn’t sleep with me, the person that has been sleeping with me lives on our street and he’s been picked up and now in Panti.
When you met with Baba Ijesha, did he mention he had a relationship with Princess, that’s one of the unanswered questions a lot of people have been asking? Another one is the real age of the girl. Is she truly Fourteen?
That’s why we are saying the government should harmonise our database. We can not really verify the age of the girl. It’s what the guardian says we would believe. They said she’s 14 and that would nail Baba Ijesha but with what I saw of the girl she could be older because in the video the girl didn’t move away. The girl that was traumatised, no matter how quick Baba Ijesha wants to take advantage of her, she would run and scream. But she has been brainwashed to put her body down. How can a child be involved in a setup? That child has been abused completely. If you want to get justice for this girl you should have done it the right way.
I want to challenge the Commissioner of Police and I would challenge any police officer based on the video and you could write statements on that but you failed to see the other crime committed by Princess. And if you go by social media, Baba Ijesha is already hanged. When people come on social media and say Baba Ijesha shouldn’t have done it, the question is, where is Baba Ijesha now? He’s been arrested. He’s facing prosecution. Whether he would be set free or not, the bottom line is that sexual assault is a bailable offence. You can not exaggerate it. That is why you can’t put law into your hands. With all I have said, you didn’t see anything wrong from the Princess angle, you only want to use the Child Protection Act to nail Baba Ijesha… The Police should look into this as well.
I have a different mandate. When people were using their money for launching and all those, I spent my money, millions, organising summits in Sheraton Hotel. I brought Amnesty International, I convened Journalists, Commissioner of Police footballers, musicians, students to speak on the way forward. They didn’t spray money on me and they didn’t enter with money. I did it for humanity and some people would be on social media and say Yomi, you toasted me and all that. I don’t pay attention to the rubbish. All I can say is provide your evidence and inform the police about it but I can not go on social media over that.
Did Baba Ijesha speak to you about his relationship with Princess?
I noticed he was trying to dodge it. I don’t lie and your secret is safe with me. But I will tell you what he told me. He said Yomi, I had marital problem the same time she had hers (Princess), and we became closer. She had helped me with admission. And I asked again that, were you guys having sex? But he replied that Yomi, we became close! But I still think he deserves to be granted bail. No one has the right to hold anyone beyond the statutory law. If you want to hold anyone beyond 48 hours, you have to approach the court with enough evidence as to why the person should not be released.
What lessons should be taken away from this whole saga now that it has caused a division in the Nollywood sector?
The truth is this, there’s no celebrity that’s not against the act of child abuse or child molestation but we all make mistakes. Don’t we make mistakes too? Who are we to play holy? The CCTV was probably set up because somebody knows they are having an affair and somebody is feeling bitter. The person would say please be on my side. I will teach him a lesson. Why would he leave me and go for you? And the guy fell into it because he’s engrossed with the younger one and immediately the other one left, he just grabbed her. I’m not holding brief for him; it’s just my opinion. All this is absurd. We all should focus on the bigger picture.
At what point would you say that justice has been served and then relax because you said you want to lead a protest?
I have already put up a petition that would go to the Governor, the Speaker of Lagos state, notify them of the things their appointees didn’t pay attention to. It could be an oversight or they got carried away. So why should your law be right in this matter when you don’t want to tell the other party you are wrong. That’s partiality. That would not take us anywhere. I already put up a statement saying that what he did wasn’t right and if the whole scenario can send him to jail, that’s the prerogative of the judge.
The girl in the video knew she was going to be touched and you knew he would touch her. Those who planned that are co-conspirators. Because if you said you wanted to have proof, who ordered for it? Who authorised it and before you can actually authorise it, it must be established that the incident occurred the first time and that’s when we can say let’s find a way to nip him again but you didn’t approach the police. If that didn’t happen it was a setup. And Baba Ijesha stupidly enters the trap but we are all human. Nobody should be set up.
A young lady came out a few days ago claiming that you almost raped her some time ago and asked you to come out and defend it?
Honestly, I read it, and I don’t respond to blackmailers. It does no good. If anybody has a legitimate grievance, tell them to approach the court and not social media. It does no good. Any false accusation can also be penalised under the law. It takes a weighty prison sentence. I want people like that to be used as a scapegoat. I don’t know the person. When they see a trending case, they just want to jump at it to gain followers. God forbid I will force anyone to have sex with me. I’m not even crazy with sex and I can stay for days without sex.