The arrest and remand of the National Legal Adviser of the African Action Congress Party (AAC), Inibehe Effiong by the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Ekaette Obot, has been condemned in the strongest terms.
Justice Obot committed Barrister Effiong for contempt while representing a client against whom the State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, had filed libel charges, when he (Effiong) prayed the judge that heavily armed policemen be asked to leave the courtroom, after the same judge ordered journalists out of the court.
The judge subsequently ordered that Effiong be remanded in Uyo Prison.
Reacting to the development, AAC in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Femi Adeyeye, demanded the immediate release of the lawyer from detention, failure of which, the party warned that it would carry out a mass action.
The party also demanded that a disciplinary action be taken against Justice Obot for what it described as reckless abuse of judicial authority and desecration of what ought to be the hallowed temple of justice.
The statement read, “The parody of democracy that Nigerians live under has again been brought to the fore with the distressing news of the remand of Mr Inibehe Effiong in prison while carrying out his legitimate duty as a lawyer and officer in the temple of justice. This is shocking to all members of the African Action Congress (AAC) and lovers of human rights globally.
“Barr. 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 desecration 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.
“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 fighter of human rights in the legitimate activity of representing his client.
“We call for the immediate release of Inibehe Effiong now! Failure to release him with immediate effect would be met with serious mass actions.”