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Falana Vows To Push For Prosecution Of Nigerian Prison Officials For Torturing Lawyer, Inibehe, Jailed By Chief Judge

Posted by Samuel on Fri 12th Aug, 2022 -

According to Falana, the jailed lawyer has been subjected to humiliation and rights abuses since his incarceration.


Femi Falana, SAN, the popular Nigerian human rights lawyer, has blatantly condemned the treatment of his colleague, Inibehe Effiong, who was jailed by Ekaette Obot, the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom.

According to Falana, the jailed lawyer has been subjected to humiliation and rights abuses since his incarceration.

Inibehe Effiong was sent to jail for one month by Obot for alleged contempt.

Effiong, a human rights lawyer, who is also the National Legal Adviser of the African Action Congress (AAC), was in court to defend Leo Ekpenyong, a lawyer, in a libel suit filed by Udom Emmanuel, governor of Akwa Ibom when the incident occurred.

The lawyer was sentenced without due process on July 27, 2022, after questioning the judge for allowing armed security agents with AK-47 rifles into the courtroom.

SaharaReporters on Wednesday reported that the lawyer was secretly transferred from the Ikot Ekpene Medium Security Custodial Center to the Uyo Custodial Centre.

The newspaper also learnt on Thursday that his beard was forcibly shaved off by prison officials

“Staff of the Nigerian Prison Service at the Uyo Medium Security Custodial Centre have forcibly shaved Inibehe Effiong’s beard. We were denied access to see but someone who saw him confirmed this,” a source told SaharaReporters earlier on Thursday.

Falana, in a statement on Thursday, said, “On July 27, 2022, the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Ekaette Ekaette Obot convicted and sentenced Inibehe Effiong to one-month imprisonment for contempt of court in facie curiae.

“In order to prevent Inibehe from appealing against the conviction and sentence imposed on him the Chief Judge has refused to furnish him with a certified true copy of her judgment in contravention of section 36(7) of the Constitution which prescribes that every convict is entitled to a copy of the judgment of the court that tried and convicted him.

“However, the warrant signed by the Judge directed that Effiong be held in Ikot Ekpene Correctional Centre, Akwa Ibom throughout the duration of his prison term. But the order of the Court was secretly varied today as Inibehe was forcefully transferred to Uyo Correctional Centre in handcuffs even though there was no violence on his part.

“At the Uyo Correctional Centre, Inibehe was forced to sit on bare floor while his head was shaved together with his beard. He was thereafter subjected to more horrendous humiliation and paraded before all prison inmates.

“The brutal torture meted out to Inibehe by the prison officials in Akwa Ibom State constitutes a violent violation of his fundamental right to dignity guaranteed by section 34 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“It is painful to note that the unprovoked violence unleashed on Inibehe is a sad reminder of the case of Minere Amakiri, then a reporter with Nigerian Observer, the old Bendel State-owned newspapers whose head was shaved with a broken bottle in 1973 on the orders of Alfred Diette-Spiff, the then Military Governor of the State.

“Apart from challenging the egregious infringement of the fundamental right of Inibehe to the dignity of his person and fair hearing we shall press for the prosecution of the officials who inflicted torture on him contrary to the provision of section 2 of the Anti-Torture Act of 2017. The penalty for the offence of inflicting torture on any person in Nigeria is 25 years imprisonment without any option of fine.”

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