Human rights lawyer, Mr Inibehe Effiong.

By Abasifreke Effiong

After an earlier threat, Akwa Ibom State Chief Judge, His Lordship, Justice Ekaette Obot, has sent a human right lawyer, Mr Inibehe Effiong to prison, barely few minutes after she ordered a PREMIUM TIMES’ reporter out of Court.

The Akwa Ibom State Chief Judge, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Ekaette Obot, on Wednesday 27th July ordered the remand of human rights lawyer, Barr Inibehe Effiong, in prison.

Barr Effiong was in court to continue an application seeking the Chief Judge to recuse herself from a case of defamation filed by Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel and Senator Effiong Bob, against Barr Leo Ekpenyong.

During his previous appearance, Barr Effiong, sought the CJ to recuse herself from the case over “likelihood of bias.” The CJ had given judgment against the defendant, Ekpenyong before Inibehe Effiong took over the case.

Some national media outlets reported on July 2, that the CJ told Effiong to “behave” himself else she will send him to prison.

Don’t make me send you to prison‘ Punch quoted the CJ as telling Barr Effiong.

Barr Effiong in a short video posted on his verified Facebook account on Wednesday, said Justice Obot ordered that he should be remanded in custody for one month after he requested the CJ to order armed policemen out of the Court.

In the video, Mr Effiong said he was not “feeling safe” with the presence of armed policemen.

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“The Chief Judge of Akwa Akwa Ibom ordered a PEEMIUM 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.”

“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 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.”

In another post on Facebook, Barr Inibehe Effiong stated that he was rejected at the Uyo correctional center.

“They’re saying that I can’t be jailed in Uyo prison because of COVID protocol, that I have to be in Ikot Ekpene prison until COVID test. Uyo prison has rejected me. We are going back to the Court now for His Lordship to determine where I should be jailed. History will vindicate the just”, the Facebook post read.

The CJ has ordered the arrest of a PREMIUM TIMES’ reporter, Mr Saviour Imukudo, who was covering court proceedings, the online news medium published on Wednesday.

The medium reported that a “resident of Uyo, who witnessed the arrest of Mr Imukudo, said the judge had asked the reporter to identify himself in the courtroom when the proceedings started.”

“Mr Imukudo introduced himself as a reporter with the PREMIUM TIMES, and then Justice Obot ordered him to leave the courtroom.”

“As he was walking out of the courtroom, the judge ordered a police officer to search him and confiscate his phone.”

“Mr Imukudo, was still detained as of 1:30 p.m. in Justice Obot’s court.”