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updated 1:38 AM UTC, Sep 21, 2022

CSOs Storm Uyo, Protest Incarceration Of Rights Lawyer Inibehe Effiong

Peoples Gazette, 11 August 2022: A coalition of civil society groups on Thursday staged a protest in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom capital, to protest the continued incarceration of human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong.

Mr Effiong was on July 27 “illegally” sent to one month imprisonment by state chief judge Ekaette Obot over purported contempt.

The human rights lawyer was in court to defend his client Leo Ekpenyong who was standing trial for a defamation case instituted by Governor Udom Emmanuel.

Speaking at the demonstration on Thursday, spokesman for the Coalition, Enefa Georgewill, condemned the decision of Ms Obot, alleging that her action amounted to scaring lawyers in the state from taking briefs against influential persons.

“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,” Mr Georgewill said.

While demanding the immediate release of the human rights lawyer, Mr Georgewill asked the CJ to recuse herself from the case.

He added that civil society believed in the sanctity of the court and equally understood 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 activist reckoned.

“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,” added Mr Georgewill.

The continued incarceration of Mr Effiong has been attracting condemnation, especially from activists, who have taken to social media with the hashtag #FreeInibeheEffiong

Last week, the African Action Congress (AAC) threatened to petition the National Judicial Council over the “unlawful jailing” of Mr Effiong.

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