Cross River Communities Protest, Demand Transfer Of Magistrate Accused Of Causing Unrest

In Breaking News, Reports

By Patrick Obia

Over three Communities in Cross River State – Ugbem, Ekpri Iko, Iwuru Obio Ntan, and among others, all in Biase Local Government Area have staged a peaceful protest demanding the immediate transfer of Magistrate I. I Abam; an embattled trial Magistrate accused of abuse of office.

The Communities had on Tuesday, August 1, 2023, staged the demonstration in Calabar, the Cross River State capital saying they are not at peace with each other due to the unnecessary and unwarranted sentencing carried out by Magistrate Abam.

The Chiefs and Youth Leaders of the aggrieved Communities took off the protest from the zoo garden and en route to the Judicial Headquarters opposite General Hospital, Calabar where they sought an audience from the Chief Justice of the State, Justice Akon Ikpeme.

Defying the repugnant rain, the Chiefs and their subjects displayed placards with different inscriptions such as “Magistrate Abam is the Lawyer, Petitioner, and the Judge in all cases”,  “transfer Abam from Biase, enough is enough”,  “save us from the claws Magistrate Abam”,  “Ekpri Iko, Ugbem, and Iwuru Obio Ntan demands justice, no to I. Abam,” and among others.

They were addressed by the Chief Judge of the State Justice Akon Ikpeme at the Judicial Headquarters and had a lengthy discussion.

Justice Ikpeme represented by Chief Registrar, Iquo Ekanem said they are aware of the issue and will intervene and do as the communities have said.

Speaking with CrossRiverWatch, the clan head of Ayimor Ugbem, HRH Chief Solomon Ibin Kanu, who spoke on behalf of other chiefs said they are living in fear and not in peace within themselves due to Magistrate Abam’s continuous menace.

“Our grievances are unlawful detention and remanding of some of us in prison custody when we are not guilty of any offense.

“All these unlawful sentencing when matters are brought before him is bringing a whole lot of problems and expenses in our communities. Today the communities are not in peace, the Chiefs and people are living in fear because the trial Magistrate is using one notorious criminal in one of the communities by the name Sunday Nube Ettan to intimidate the people in the community;  we are not in peace.”

“We want Magistrate Abam to be removed and Sunday Nube Ettan should be taken away from the community so we can be in peace,” adding that Nube is a prison escapee who is on the wanted list.

Similarly, Rights activist and indigene of Biase, Barrister Ozinko Ozinko who doubles as the communities solicitor averred that the said Magistrate I. I Abam is said to become a terror to the people of Biase where he is posted to, dishing out unnecessary issuance of criminal summons against Clan Heads, Village Heads, Chiefs, and citizens; usurping the role of the police as an investigative and prosecuting agencies and “if you do not pay him N250,000.00 (Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand) only for each of the summons, he sends you to prison thereby congesting the prison with innocent citizens who have not been arrested, investigated, detained or charged to the Court.”

He added: “This protest is supposed to have been sustained for one week and then we move to other quarters but because the Chief Registrar has delved into the matter and has promised them that particular Magistrate will be looked into and they shouldn’t continue and should give them that benefit of the doubt in order not to embarrass the judiciary because within the judiciary there are still good people – Justices and Magistrates carrying out their duties diligently.”

This is the second protest reported in the city of Calabar today after the Nigerian Medical Association, Cross River State chapter had protested earlier, calling for an unconditional release of their member – Professor Ekanem Philip Ephriam kidnapped last month.

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