Barristers & Solicitors
Imprisonment: Release lawyer now, AAC tells A’Ibom CJ
WhatsApp Image 2022-07-27 at 12.10.13 PM

The African Action Congress has called for the immediate release of its National Legal Adviser, Inibehe Effiong, who was sent to prison, Wednesday morning, by the Akwa Ibom State Chief Judge, Justice Ekaette Obot.

It was gathered that Justice Obot ordered Inibehe to be remanded in jail for one month over what she called “contemptuous and insulting behaviour in court.”

She said that the lawyer would use the correctional facility to purge himself of insolence and dishonourable acts that tended to bring the court to disrepute.

The court which sat in the case of libel by Governor Udom Emmanuel against Mr Leo Ekpenyong, was on its last day for the prosecution to end its case. 

Reacting via a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Adeyeye Olorunfemi, Wednesday, the AAC noted that the parody of democracy that Nigerians were living under had again been brought to the fore with the distressing news of the remand of Inibehe while carrying out his legitimate duty as a lawyer and officer in the temple of justice, saying, “this is shocking to all members of the African Action Congress and lovers of human rights globally.”

The statement partly read, “Inibehe was committed for contempt and ordered to be remanded in Uyo Prisons by the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Ekaette Obot in a reckless abuse of judicial authority and discretion of what ought to be the hallowed temple of justice.

“According to reports from Mr Inibehe and other eye-witnesses, our party’s legal adviser, who was representing a client against whom the State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, had filed libel charges, only prayed the judge that heavily armed policemen be asked to leave the courtroom, after the same judge had ordered journalists out of the court in what ought to be a public trial.Related News

“It is obvious that all these intimidation tactics are the machinations of the state government, under Udom Emmanuel, the Akwa Ibom State Governor, who has continued to act like a tyrant in a supposed democracy and suborned the judiciary.

“The action of the Chief Judge acting the script of the tyrant Governor against a lawyer in the legitimate pursuit of his duties, is pure judicial rascality, judicial shamelessness, and judicial recklessness. It is a fruitless conspiratorial attempt to intimidate a counsel, a human rights fighter in the legitimate activity of representing his client.”

The party noted that failure to release its lawyer would be met with resistance.

“We call for the immediate release of Inibehe Effiong now! Failure to release him with immediate effect would be met with serious mass actions,” the statement concluded.

The lawyer had in a series of tweets on his verified handle on Wednesday, revealed he was in court on a suit filed by Governor Udom Emmanuel against Leo Ekpenyong for alleged defamation.

He said, “I have just been sent to Uyo prison by the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Ekaette Obot, for one month for defending Leo Ekpenyong in the libel suit filed by Governor Udom Emmanuel.”

Effiong added that there was “Already a pending application for recusal asking the Hon. Chief Judge, Justice Ekaette Obot, to recuse himself. We filed it since June 23, 2022. The motion is still pending.”

Culled from PUNCH

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