The Assassination Of Justice, The Accomplices And The Fate Of Ordinary Nigerians In Akwa Ibom: The Inibehe Effiong Story BY RICHARD INOYO

In Breaking News, Opinion

Since July 27th, 2022, I have struggled helplessly to sleep at nights knowing that an innocent, compassionate and ideologically sound lawyer known as Inibehe Effiong is currently being held against all legal procedures and professional code of ethics in prison running into weeks, and his crime? Simply because he went to Uyo High Court 1 to defend his client- Leo Ekpenyong who was accused by Sen. Bob Effiong and Udom Emmanuel of defamation.

Last week saw the media awash with news on how the beard and hair of Inibehe Effiong were shaved-against his consent with his eyes blindfolded-with crude clippers while female prison personnel in Uyo Correctional Facility said “In this place, they treat people like animals”.

Now let’s get to the bottom line, let’s delve into the crux of the matter and interlock the appalling historical misnomer that led to the illegal arrest, unjust imprisonment, unacceptable maltreatment, primitive torture and flagrant violations of Inibehe Effiong’s fundamental human rights under the watch of the governor- Udom Emmanuel on the committal order issued by one Justice Ekaette Obot who was long asked on May 18 and June 24, 2022 respectively before the 27th July Committal Order to recuse herself from the case which she flagrantly refused to do against established provisions of the body of law that requires she do so whenever there is or has been suspicion of possible bias in a case, which in her case, her attendance in a wedding ceremony of Senator Bob Effiong’s daughter and where both Senator Dickson Bob Effiong and the governor, Udom Emmanuel were in attendance and which they all interacted while she was overseeing a case where both persons were plaintiffs against Inibehe’s client, Leo Ekpenyong.

The unjust and unacceptable imprisonment of Inibehe Effiong by Justice Ekaette Obot against laid down procedures coupled with the absence of a fair hearing, clearly shows she has done nothing competent in this case other than playing the role of a hatchet man against the code of professional conducts which in itself is a gross violation of her privileges. Also, the attendant torturing and maltreatment of Inibehe Effiong in Uyo Correctional Facility under the supervision of the state governor without the governor (who is the primary spokesperson for all Akwa ibomites), speaking out and condemning these documented and reported broad daylight atrocities all point to the disturbing fact that justice has been assassinated in Akwa Ibom and the accomplices in all of this, existentially leave ordinary Nigerians in Akwa Ibom State to have no other expectations than to lose faith and differ confidence in the Judiciary which can now be best described as a slaughterer’s slab for justice, truthfulness, hope, decency and “innocence”. It is equally sad to note that the executioner of this appalling outcome has been no other person but an insider who had derailed from her obligations to uphold the rule of law in all fairness as one presiding over the state judiciary.

That said, the catalyst for the resistance to the assassination of Justice in Akwa Ibom State has been best described as slow and largely unimpressive, as both the media and the general public look askance with dismay at the weak and unimpressive effort put forward by the Faculty of Advocates (Nigerian Bar Association), as an innocent colleague of theirs suffers in the hands of a corrupt and compromised Judge who up till now against the Freedom of Information Act and request made by Olumide Akpata led-NBA has openly refused to present or make available the Certified True Copy of the proceedings leading to the condemnable and flawed imprisonment of Mr. Inibehe Effiong.

Also, the complete lack of boycotting of court sessions by all lawyers since the investigation of the NBA showed that due processes weren’t followed by Justice Ekaette Obot on the committal order that imprisoned Inibehe Effiong, together with the slow and ineffectual actions taken thus far by the NBA while the rights of one of their dues-paying members continued to be violently abused and violated, have inspired a demand for a rational appraisal of the essence for the continued existence of the NBA and the need for a complete moral questioning of the basis of paying dues in particular or encouraging all lawyers to sign up for such association that has refused to take the maxim which states that “An injury to one is an injury to all” to a stage where target is placed on the back of any person either in the bench or in government house seen to be abusing official privileges and using public funds and state institutions to violate citizen’s right for personal, primitive and petty purposes. We are aware that Inibehe Effiong has criticized the Akwa Ibom State Government serially and they are trying to get back at him using primitive means.

Inibehe Effiong needs not to spend an extra one hour in that prison. I call on the Nigerian Bar Association to reclaim its voice, find its excellent cerebellar balance that is known for and implant her legal footprint of solidarity and fight for justice in the face of legal corruption and injustice. I equally call on all Nigerians across the country, including the Nigerian youths to rise and demand the end of the abuse of judicial institutions for personal vendetta that makes no sense for the public good with a call for the immediate release of Inibehe Effiong. Let it be on the public registry that our lives and humanity are worthless if we keep quiet and do nothing when the rights of innocent people are violated. Nobody voted for Udom Emmanuel to keep quiet in the face of the atrocity even if he claims he isn’t connected to it publicly. The NBA and Nigerian citizens must not allow that court to be weaponized to punish innocent citizens by any person or group of persons in government or outside government.

Arise and reawake assassinated lady Justice, to come back alive to her existential calling and responsibilities to defend right over wrong and pettiness. #FreeInibeheEffiongNow. Thanks

Richard F. Inoyo, Country Director,
Citizens Solution Network.

NB: Opinions expressed in this article are solely attributable to the author, Richard F. Inoyo, and do not in any way represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.

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