A coalition of Civil Society Organisation in Nigeria in conjunction with friends of Inibehe Effiong, have protested the continued incarceration of the human rights lawyer.
The group who also called for the unconditional release of Effiong, denounced the incarceration of the lawyer on July 27, 2022, to 30 days in prison by Justice Ekaette Obot, the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State for contempt
Addressing journalists on Thursday in Uyo before the protest, the group led by Comrade Enefaa Georgewill, said the action of the Chief Judge is an attempt to subdue lawyers and silence them anytime they have any case against any powerful individual in the society.
“We are calling on the CJ to reverse herself; we are demanding for the immediate release of Inibehe Effiong, and we are equally calling on lawyers and litigants not to stand and watch.
“This is a ploy to intimidate lawyers so that they will not be able to speak. So that when you have any case against the rich, a governor, or anybody in power you will be scared, so this fight is not just about Inibehe. it is the fight for the soul of democracy,” he stated.
Georgewill condemned the way and manner Effiong was committed to prison, adding that from the accounts of the incident, the action of the CJ was premeditated.
“We as a civil society believe in the sanctity of the court and we equally believe that only justice can pave way for any democratic society. But in the specific case of Inibehe and the way and manner he was sent to prison speak doom for the hallowed court.
“The NBA had previously said that assuming but not conceding that Inibehe was even wrong due process was not followed in his case.
“From all the accounts we have had from both parties, especially the media that was there, clearly, what happened was premeditated. In our years of going to Court, the only time you see a policeman as an orderly of the judge who stands behind the judge, not armed but at times with a short pistol. But on that fateful day, two mobile policemen with AK-47s were inside the court, this shows that all of these things were planned”.
Also speaking, the Coordinator, Coalition of Friends, Family, Colleagues For Inibehe Effiong, Mr Jonathan Abang-Ugal said their primary concern is for Inibehe Effiong to be released as the judiciary would go on vacation from tomorrow.
He said, “Our concern now is for our friends and colleagues, Inibehe Effiong to be released”.
On his part, convener of the rights group, Citizen Liberation Movement and activist, Mr Ofonime Honesty, expressed disappointment with the former Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Uwemedimo Nwoko (SAN), for allegedly labelling the group as miscreants for protesting for the release of Inibehe Effiong.
He said the peaceful protest is enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, adding that by protesting they were not any bullying the court.
“I am the convener of the right group called Citizen Liberation Movement. This is the 2nd protest and by doing this we are not bullying the court. We are only asking for the release of Inibehe Effiong. I wish to react to the trending Video clip released by the former Attorney general, where he described us as miscreants.
“Peaceful demonstration is enshrined in the Constitution of Nigeria. He labelled us as miscreants and even went ahead to threaten that he will slam the allegation of contempt of court against us. We wish to tell him that we are not miscreants in this group, I am a journalist, and we have lawyers in this group,” he stated.