Thursday, March 23

Akwa Ibom Chief Judge, Obot, Releases Record Committing Inibehe Effiong To Prison

… as human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, files suit against the Chief Judge

By Joseph Albert (Umunna TV)

A copy of the judgment that committed human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, to prison has been released.

The certified true copy of the court proceedings was released on Wednesday by Akwa Ibom State Chief Judge, Justice Ekaette Obot, exactly 21 days after the conviction of the legal practitioner.

Effiong was sentenced to one month in prison by Obot on July 27 for contempt of court, after the lawyer reportedly protested against the presence of armed policemen in court, where he came to defend another lawyer, Leo Ekpenyong, in a libel suit filed by the Governor of the state, Emmanuel Udom.

On Tuesday, August 17, Inibehe’s lawyer, Femi Falana, filed a suit against Justice Obot over the alleged violation of Inibehe’s fundamental human rights.

In the suit, the human rights lawyer said the judge had refused to furnish him with a copy of the judgment committing him to prison.

He therefore asked the court for an order directing the Chief Judge to furnish him with a copy of the judgment to enable him to file an appeal.

In the record of proceedings, the judge had asked Saviour Imukudo, a journalist with the Premium Times, to leave the court for covering the proceedings without permission.

But Effiong had reportedly objected, saying the court was an open court and the judge was wrong to have sent the journalist out.

The record showed that Effiong was “shouting, pointing at the court and banging the table” in protest.

“This is an open court. It is wrong for you to send out the journalist. That journalist has every right to make a video recording of these proceedings. I cannot continue until the phone is handed over to the journalist to continue his work,” Effiong had reportedly said.

Effiong also complained that the presence of several police officers in the courtroom was intimidating.

But the judge, Obot, accused Effiong of using the journalist to “run down the court” after she asked Effiong to continue with the cross examination, which he allegedly refused.

She then accused Effiong of being “insolent and stalling the court proceedings.”

Effiong also reportedly refused to “derobe” himself and leave the court as ordered by the judge.

“Is he not that same journalist you have been using, to run this court down? You want to run down my good name, which I have built for over 33 years because you want to be popular,” the chief judge reportedly said.

“In that case, you are hereby committed to the Custodial Centre for (one) month until you purge yourself of the contempt.”

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