The Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Ekaette Obot, on Wednesday sentenced human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong to one month in prison for questioning her order.

The lawyer was sentenced to one month imprisonment by the judge for daring to question her decision to send journalists out of the courtroom.

Inibehe Effiong

In a post on his Facebook page, Inibehe explained that trouble started when Justice Obot asked a Premium Times reporter to leave the court.

But the lawyer felt it was unconstitutional to walk out the Journalist from the courtroom and queried the action of the Judge, since according to him, the hearing in the court was a public event.

He, however, asked the court to also send out the arm carrying security agents out of the courtroom.

Irked by the statement of the lawyer, the Chief Judge asked the lawyer to step out of the Bar and condemned him to one month imprisonment at Uyo Correctional facility.

“The Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom ordered a Premium Times reporter to leave the court,” Effiog said in the post.

” 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 obeyed. I informed the court that I was not feeling comfortable and safe having two armed mobile policemen seated inside the courtroom, that it was strange and that I felt unsafe. I applied for the judge to excuse the armed policemen from the courtroom.

“The Hon. Chief Judge then ordered me to step out of the Bar, that she was sending me to prison. She then ordered the policemen to take me to Uyo prison. And that I should be in jail for one month. I am waiting inside the courtroom for them to bring the conviction warrant.

“I will be going to the Uyo Correctional Centre now. I have not done anything. I wasn’t even given 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.”

Earlier, Effiong had defended his client, Leo Ekpenyong, in the libel filed against him by the governor.

In suits No. HU/279/2019, between Governor Udom Emmanuel and Leo Ekpenyong, and No. HU/273/2019 between Senator Effiong Bob vs Leo Ekpenyong delivered in 2021 by Justice Obot, 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.

However, Effiong, who is the counsel for the defendant, filed a motion for the judgement to be set aside, insisting that his client was not given a fair hearing. The prayer was later granted by the court.

But the defence counsel also filed another motion praying the chief judge to rescue herself from the case, alleging prejudice and likelihood of bias.

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