48 Hours After Being Sued, Akwa Ibom Chief Judge Releases Record Of Court Proceedings

The chief judge of Akwa Ibom StateEkaette Obot has finally made public the file of a case in which she sent the human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, to prison for alleged contempt. The document was released on Wednesday, less than 48 hours after the jailed lawyer filed a lawsuit with the Uyo Federal High Court, asking the court to force Ms. Obot to post it. Mr. Effiong, in the lawsuit, said that Ms. Obot had refused to provide him with court proceedings despite repeated requests. Femi Falana, a lawyer for Effiong, had said that the judge’s refusal to deliver the document to the plaintiff seven days into the case was unconstitutional and also violated his client’s right to appeal. Mr. Effiong was sentenced to 30 days in prison on July 27. Minutes before Mr. Effiong was sent to prison, Ms. Obot had ordered a police officer to confiscate the phone of a PREMIUM TIMES reporter, Savior Imukudo, who was covering the court proceedings. Subsequently, Mr. Imukudo was arrested on the orders of Ms. Obot and taken to a nearby police station, where he wrote a statement to the police. The reporter was making a discreet audio recording of the proceedings, which he said allowed him to accurately report the court case. The audio file was later deleted as Ms. Obot demanded before the reporter was released and his phone was returned to him. Mr. Effiong, in a previous proceeding, had asked the judge to withdraw from the case. Record of procedures In the record of the proceedings seen by this newspaper, Ms. Obot stated that she had accused Mr. Effiong, during the proceedings that day, of using the journalist, Mr. Imukudo, to run over his court. Ms. Obot incorrectly said that Mr. Imukudo was videotaping court proceedings; the journalist made an audio recording and not a video. “You want to belittle my good name, which I have built for more than 33 years because you want to be popular,” Ms. Obot claimed she told Mr. Effiong during the proceedings. Inibehe Effiong He also claimed that Mr. Effiong yelled, banged on the table and pointed his finger at it during the process. The lawyer had objected to the presence of two armed policemen in the courtroom. Ms. Obot claimed, according to the record she released, that Mr. Effiong was convicted of contempt due to his “rebellious behavior.” The court document, however, revealed that the lawyer was not brought to trial or given any opportunity to defend himself, a point that was highlighted by the president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olumida Akpatawho threatened to take the matter to the National Council of the Judiciary. The imprisoned lawyer, Mr. Effiong, was at Ms. Obot’s court to defend his client in a defamation case in which Akwa Ibom Governor Udom Emmanuel is the plaintiff. “We are going to study this procedure thoroughly and comment on it as soon as possible,” Augustine Asuquo, a lawyer and head of the Inibehe Effiong Chamber in Uyo, said Wednesday. Read More Related News Here Let here it in the comment below if you do have an opinion on this; 48 Hours After Being Sued, Akwa Ibom Chief Judge Releases Record Of Court Proceedings