Thursday, 29th September 2022
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Inibehe Effiong’s conviction: A judicial misconduct 

The conviction of Inibehe Effiong on July 27, 2022, by Honourable Justice Ekaette Obot, the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State came to me as a surprise.

Sir: The conviction of Inibehe Effiong on July 27, 2022, by Honourable Justice Ekaette Obot, the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State came to me as a surprise.

I kept monitoring news and events about his wellbeing until August 2, 2022, when I decided to go from Lagos State to Akwa Ibom State to see things for myself.

The following day at the Nigerian correctional service facility in Ikot-Ekpene Effiong informed me inter alia:

That he did not conduct himself in any way or manner that amounts to his being contemptuous of the court while conducting his case before Justice Obot, in a defamation matter between the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, who is the claimant, and Leo Ekpenyong, a lawyer, the defendant.

That Obot, on that faithful day in court, her Lordship instructed her police orderly to bring into the court two police officers armed with AK47 rifles which they did.

When his case was called, even though the business of the court that day was for the cross-examination of the claimant’s witness, he, however, customarily as lawyers do and allowed by practice, brought to the notice of the court his pending application for Obot to recuse herself from the case because he no longer have confidence in the court to be fair and just in adjudicating the matter.

That Obot insisted that it is her court and that she will take the application on another date but that trial must go on. That he nevertheless proceeded with the cross-examination of the claimant’s witness.
Malcolm Emokiniovo Omirhobo.

That feeling uncomfortable with the presence of the armed police inside the court, he drew the court’s attention to the presence of the armed policemen in the courtroom, which constituted a threat to him and a safety hazard to all in the court.

That the court ignored his concerns about the armed policemen which caused him to formally make an application to that effect insisting that he be recorded. That the court got infuriated by his application and ordered him to step out of the Bar and disrobe himself, which he did. That the court consequently committed him to prison for contempt for one full calendar month.

From the available facts weighed against the refusal of Obot to make available the court proceedings to the public it is my humble submission that Obot has conducted herself in such a manner that suggests that she has abused the power and authority of her office as a judicial officer.