Akwa Ibom Chief Judge sends lawyer Effiong to prison
Akwa Ibom State Chief Judge Justice Ekaette Obot on Wednesday sent a human rights lawyer Inibehe Effiong to prison for one month.
Effiong in a tweet alleged that Justice Obot sent him to prison “for defending Leo Ekpenyong in the libel suit filed by Governor Udom Emmanuel.”
The lawyer explained that he complained when the judge ordered a journalist to leave the court.
“The Chief Judge of Akwa Akwa Ibom ordered a Premium Times reporter to leave the court,” Effiong said. “I said my lord, we were thinking that since the proceeding is public, that members of the public should be allowed to observe the proceeding. My Lord asked me to proceed with cross examination.
“I will be going to the Uyo Correctional Centre now. I have not done anything. I wasn’t even opportunity to say anything before the “conviction”. Two lawyers in court appealed to the Hon. Chief Judge but my Lord insisted that I must be jailed.”
Effiong is the lawyer defending Leo Ekpenyong in a libel suit filed by the governor.
The defendant was found guilty of libel and was asked to pay the sums of N1.5 billion and N150 million to the governor and the senator respectively in the suit between Governor Udom Emmanuel and Leo Ekpenyong, and suit No. HU/273/2019 between Senator Effiong Bob vs Leo Ekpenyong delivered in 2021 by Justice Obot.
Effiong, the counsel for the defendant, filed a motion for the judgment to be set aside, insisting that his client was not given a fair hearing. The prayer was later granted by the court.
The defence counsel thereafter filed another motion praying the chief judge to recuse herself from the case, alleging prejudice and likelihood of bias.