The Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Ekaette Obot, has sent a human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong to prison for one month.
The lawyer, who has been handling a case for his client before Justice Obot’s court in Uyo, announced the development in a message he posted on his WhatsApp status around 10:40 a.m. on Wednesday.
“I have been sent to Uyo prison by the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Ekaette Obot, for one month for defending Leo Ekpenyong in a libel suit filed by Governor Udom Emmanuel”, Effiong wrote.
The Lagos-based lawyer flew into Uyo for the case.
Effiong later posted details of the incident on his Twitter page: “The Chief Judge of Akwa Akwa Ibom ordered a Premium Times reporter to leave the court. 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”, he stated.
“I will be going to the Uyo Correctional Centre now. I have not done anything. I wasn’t even given an 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.
“This is in the suit filed by Governor Udom Emmanuel against a lawyer, Leo Ekpenyong, for alleged defamation”, Effiong added.
Justice Obot ordered the Premium Times’ reporter to leave the courtroom before her pronouncement on Effiong. Premium Times reported that the reporter’s phone line was switched off as at the time of filing its report, and his whereabouts unknown.
At previous sittings, Justice Obot had ordered court officials to seize phones from reporters and others in the courtroom, apparently to prevent the proceedings from being recorded secretly. She also threatened to send Effiong to prison.
Credit: Premium Times
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[…] The Lagos-based lawyer had been handling a case for his client before Justice Obot’s court in Uyo. […]