Oko Iyabo: Lagos State To Prosecute Yomi Fabiyi Over Controversial Film
The Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) on Monday said it will prosecute Nigerian actor, Yomi Fabiyi, for contempt of court over production of his controversial film “Oko Iyabo.”
Fabiyi earlier this month released the film “Oko Iyabo”, which depicted the sexual assault case involving fellow actor, Olanrewaju Omiyinka, popularly known as Baba Ijesha. Baba Ijesha was arrested in April for sexually assaulting a minor, the foster daughter of comedienne, Princess. One of the scenes in “Oko Iyabo” was an exact reenactment of the viral CCTV video footage which implicated Baba Ijesha.
The film suffered backlash from social media users soon after it was released to YouTube. The film was pulled down from the video-sharing platform less than 24-hours after it premiered.
The DPP director and prosecution counsel, Olayinka Adeyemi, today told an Ikeja Special Offences Court that Fabiyi produced a film entitled “Oko Iyabo,” based on the court proceedings of June 24, 2021, using the real names of the defendants and the survivor of the case.
“Despite the warnings of this honourable court, an actor called Yomi Fabiyi went ahead and made a film about the facts of this case.
“He used the real names of the parties and witnesses in this matter in the film. Our application is to exclude him, his privies and his agents from proceedings in court.
“He is not in court at the moment but his representatives may be in court. This is contempt of court and we intend to prosecute him and bring him before this court,” the DPP prosecution counsel told the court.
Reacting, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo expressed displeasure about the development and ordered an investigation.
“This case is sub judice and you are not to be making videos and disparaging comments on social media. This needs to be investigated,” the judge said.
However, one of the counsels of Baba Ijesha, Dada Awosika, told the court that he has seen the film and that it has no correlation with the ongoing case. According to him, the film is about the controversy between two artists, Yomi Fabiyi and Iyabo Ojo and they are not involved in the case.
The film “Oko Iyabo” was removed from YouTube barely 24 hours after it premiered following outrage on social media with many social media canvassing for the film to be reported.
Addressing the concerns around the film, Yomi Fabiyi wrote on his Instagram story: “I have ask they PULL or PRIVATE the movie for the sake of peace.”
He added that the film which critics claimed made a mockery if the victim, was actually meant to “correct” the child abuse and assault: “The movie is however to correct CHILD ABUSE, ASSAULT, HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE AND OTHER VICES and to state clearly I am not what they claim I am initially. Don’t rush on any negative narrative guys. I am human but will never down play the real issues that concerns children. It is just an expression and I respect polite and superior arguments or opinion. Thank you lovelies.”
The actor was subsequently suspended by the Theatre Arts & Motion Picture Practitioners’ Association Of Nigeria (TAMPAN). TAMPAN in a statement released at that time wrote:
“Having listened to the detailed defense of Mr. Yomi Fabiyi who is the Producer/Director of the Controversial film “OKO lYABO” and his Co-Director Mr. Dele Matti, the Ethic, Conflict and Resolution Committee hereby found them guilty of professional misconduct and unethical practices.
“Although Mr. Yomi Fabiyi insisted that it is his fundamental human right to use his creative talent to produce films that will tell his own account of the trending issue but his Co-Director admitted his fault and regretted his involvement in the film.”