Baba Ijesha

As fans defend him

By BENJAMIN NJOKU

The sexual molestation allegation against Yoruba actor, Olanrewaju Omiyinka, popularly known as Baba Ijesha   which sparked   outrage last year, has hardly received justice in court when another actor, Moses Armstrong has been entangled in similar circumstances.  

Armstrong was arrested by the operatives of the Nigerian Police Force, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, during the week for allegedly raping a minor.  

His ordeal is currently generating mixed reactions with the leadership of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, AGN, suspending him from acting and the guild’s activities.

In a statement signed by the AGN Director of Communications and actress, Monalisa Chinda, the Guild said that the indefinite suspension became necessary following the investigation of the guild concerning the alleged rape incident.

“Actors Guild of Nigeria has been in the forefront of advocacy against violation of women such as rape, molestation and all forms of abuse; therefore, the allegation against Moses Armstrong is capable of tarnishing the good image and reputation of our noble Guild if the constitutional provisions of the Guild do not take urgent action.

“In a suspension letter signed by the National President of AGN, Mr. Emeka Rollas, the actor’s suspension was based on facts emanating from the preliminary investigations conducted by the Guild on the allegation.

“Though we must protect our members when it comes to serious allegations, the law will have to take its course,” reads the statement.

The statement also noted that though the suspension was a sad development, but nobody was above the law, especially on rape and abuse of women.

AGN’s statement noted that while the actor is on suspension, he is not expected to participate in any film production or Guild activities.

Meanwhile, defending the actor, one of his local fans, Inyene Quintin with the harsh tag ‘#FreeMosesArmstrong’   described the action of the Guild as ‘injustice’ noting that “the girl in question has confessed she was lying and has withdrawn the case.  

“Injustice meted to our people will never go unpunished. Just note that I refused to write this saga because I wanted the law to have its course. Now the law has vindicated him and all the test you ran on your said victim has proved you lied against him.

“Whoever is bent on having Amb Armstrong Moses behind bars should think twice. Injustice for one is injustice for all,” Oquintin wrote on his Facebook page.

Also, joining his voice on the matter, another fan from Uyo, Imoh Inyangette opined that any case that bothers on rape must be thoroughly investigated.  

“Blackmailing a man this way is just pure suicide on his personality,” Imoh wrote.

Reports of Armstrong’s arrest by the Akwa Ibom police command made headlines on June   9, after he was accused of   defiling a 16-year-old girl.

The actor, who until his arrest was the Special Assistant to the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel   has already been arraigned before a Magistrate court in Uyo, on charges of “rape” and “threat to life.” To make matters worse, the First Lady of Akwa-Ibom state, Martha Udom Emmanuel through her Family Empowerment and Youth Re-Orientation Path Initiative program is in the forefront of ensuring that justice is served as far as the rape case is concerned.  

Armstrong is suffering the same fate with Baba Ijesha, who is standing trial on six count charges   bordering on the defilement of a minor.

While Baba Ijesha will know his fate on July 14, when judgement will be delivered on the protracted legal battle, Armstrong’s ordeal is still being discussed in hush tones among his colleagues.   But many believe, it’s only a competent court of law that can prove their innocence. Until then , the two famous actors   are locked in a battle to save their hard earned names from being tarnished.

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