Barristers & Solicitors
Steer clear of Akwa Ibom CJ, appeal your case – Groups warn Falana

A socio-cultural organisation in Akwa Ibom State, Afighh Iwaad Ekid as well as the Ibom Integrity Alliance have cautioned Femi Falana, SAN, against a suit he instituted against the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Ekaette Obot.

The groups said he should rather exercise a right of appeal on the case which has already been concluded.

Falana has dragged Akwa Ibom Chief Judge to court for alleged failure to produce Certified True Copy of the court proceedings on July 27 where Mr Inibehe was committed to one month in prison for contempt.

Though the Assistant Registrar whose duty it was, has made available the contentious copy yesterday, the groups warned Falana to stop interloping in the matter querying if lawyers in Yoruba land would have the effrontery to sue judges when a case is not in favor of their clients.

In a joint press conference on Thursday in Uyo, the International President of Afigh Iwaad Ekid, Obongiwaad Etienne Bob said Akwa Ibomites are peace loving, respectful and humble people who will not condone legal rascality by anyone and would not allow the judicial sanctity of the state to be dragged in the mud.

He said, “Femi Falana is an interloper and should leave us here in Akwa Ibom. The court has ruled and the right thing he should have done is to appeal and not to sue the judge.

“Inibehe Effiong is our son also but he needs to purge himself of contempt and learn how to respect those who were there before him.

“In Akwa Ibom we maintain a lot of peace, we don’t want a serial rascality behaviour of people trying to disrupt our quiet society. Let it not come from the judiciary, politicians or from anywhere, besides, this is our daughter and we will not allow anyone to embarrass her.”

Also speaking, Chairman, Akwa Ibom Integrity Alliance, Stephen Abia, Esq, wondered why the lawyers led by Falana, SAN, were out to sue the State Chief Judge asking whether it was right for the young lawyer to question the constitutional majesty of the court?

He further queried whether judges in Yoruba land are usually sued for delivering judgments that are not in favour of a certain party, asking, ‘is Akwa Ibom state the Guinea Pig for wrong precedents?’

Abia expressed worry over continuous projection of Akwa Ibom State and the State Judiciary in negative lights by ‘persons who are deliberately out to trample on the reputation of the state’ even as he cautioned them to desist forthwith.

Speaking on the allegation by Falana that Justice Obot refused to produce the CTC that was requested, Abia said, “Against Rule 33 of the Rules of Professional Conduct of Legal Practitioners which forbids the publication of matters that are pending in court, as you would have observed, the media is currently embarrassingly awash with copies of court processes expressly indicating a legal duel instituted by a group of lawyers led by one Femi Falana, SAN, against the person of Honourable Justice Ekaette Fabian Obot, Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State.

“The allegation that the Chief Judge has refused to release the Certified True Copy of the court proceedings is clearly only within the imagination of the speculators. Lawyers know the realities on ground, and know how to get court proceedings. It is the usual practice that the Chief Judge is under a legal obligation to give his ruling to the Assistant Court Registrar for certification to the applicants.

“I am sure Inibehe’s case cannot be an exception. The questions one would naturally ask at this point are: Is the Chief Judge responsible for the issuing of CTCs of judgments? Is there any express order from the Chief Judge denying access to the proceedings? Can we not, therefore, see that this is clearly an administrative function?”

Abia noted that Falana and Co. should be aware that Mr. Effiong is not under detention of any sort, rather, serving a jail or prison term adding that the Judge having made the instant conviction, is naturally functus on that matter.

“Is fundamental Right Enforcement the appropriate option at this point? Is it not commonsensical that the right of a convict terminates the moment he is convicted, and would only be exhumed on appeal? The current move is, summarily, an abuse of the court process,” Abia stressed.

He, however, called on the security agents to take a cursory look at those who hide under the guise of politics to plot mayhem in the state, fish them out and bring them to book..