NBA Provides update on Inibehe Effiong’s release

NBA PROVIDES UPDATE ON INIBEHE EFFIONG'S RELEASE Mr Inibehe Effiong and Akwa Ibom Chief Judge, Ekaete Obot

The Nigerian Bar Association has provided an update on its efforts towards securing the release of lawyer and activist, Inibehe Effiong.

Mr Effiong was sentenced for one month last week, upon the order of the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Ekaete Obot on account of alleged contemptuous conduct in court.

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The human rights lawyer was in court to defend a lawyer, Leo Ekpenyong, in a libel suit filed by the Governor of the State, Udom Emmanuel.

According to the NBA’s President, Olumide Akpata, Who issued a statement on Wednesday, attempts to secure Mr. Effiong’s release through sustained engagements at different levels have been unsuccessful, “with the Chief Judge indicating that she was unwilling, or unable, to further entertain the matter.”

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He added that the NBA is now working on appealing against the court order.

But, Mr Akpata notes that “this is not the outcome the NBA had expected, because there is a high chance that Mr. Effiong would serve out his one-month custodial term before the end of the appeal.”

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The NBA also states that it is considering resorting to the National Judicial Council, because it findings so far have revealed that Justice Obot did not follow due process in the committal proceedings.

“Mr. Effiong was not put in the dock, told what his wrong or contempt was, given fair hearing or even an opportunity to recant or purge himself (a courtesy that the Bench should, at the minimum, extend to counsel where counsel’s conduct is said to be contemptuous).
This on its face not only runs afoul of known practice and procedure in such cases but is also unconstitutional.“

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Mr Inibehe Effiong was sentenced to one month in the Uyo Custodial Centre by the Akwa Ibom State Chief Judge following his alleged contemptous conduct while defending a case before her.

He later made a thread of what transpired in court that led to the decision by the Chief Judge to jail him for a month for contempt of Court.

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The Nigerian Bar Association has since been at the forefront of securing his release from what it says is an unjustifiable contempt coviction.

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