Posted by News Express | 12 August 2022 | 277 times
By TINA TIMOTHY
The Revolutionary Socialist Movement (RSM) has called for the immediate release of a human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, who was remanded in jail for one month by Justice Ekaette Obot over alleged contemptuous and insulting behaviour in court.
In a statement on Monday, August 8, 2022, signed by RSM Publicity Secretary, Salako Kayode, the group condemned the action, saying it was undemocratic, not civil, a sign of danger for young professionals and that Mr Inibehe was a victim of state brutality.
The statement reads: “The Revolutionary Socialist Movement (RSM) Condemns the continued remand of Inibehe Effiong, an activist and legal practitioner, who was remanded in custody on the order of the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Ekaette Obot, on account of alleged contemptuous conduct in Her Lordship’s court.
“Mr. Effiong, was at the court on that fateful day to represent his client, one Mr. Leo Ekpenyong, in the defamation case with suit numbers HU/279/2019 and HU/273/2019, instituted by Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State and Senator Bob Effiong, was bullied by Justice Ekaette Obot and subsequent action that followed resulted in her Lordship to remand Mr Inibehe.
“The RSM holds strongly that this is undemocratic, it’s not civil, it is primitive and a sign of danger for young professionals such as Mr Inibehe. Mr Inibehe is a victim of state brutality and we will not allow it to go without questioning. We do not agree that opposition to government under civil rule should be resisted with such actions carried against Mr Inibehe.
“Inibehe Effiong’s incarceration further revealed how undemocratic our society is and the level at which some individuals in position of authority wants to live a life of untouchable and unquestionable. It portends evil to the entire society when young people are victims of oppression and repression and are not allowed to resist.”
RSM further lent her support to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) who it said has made concerted efforts to wade into the matter, claiming that “Justice Obot did not follow due process to carry out her actions,” as “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.”
The statement continues: “Attempt has been made by the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) with the Chief Judge indicating that she was unwilling or unable to further entertain the matter. This is arrogance and abuse of office by the Chief Judge.
“To us in the RSM, no matter the conduct of Mr. Effiong in the courtroom while trying to defend his client, which is constitutional, the reality before us is also that Justice Ekaette Obot did not follow due process to carry out her actions. According to the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), President, "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.”
While commending the NBA for their efforts so far regarding the matter, RSM called on civil society groups and others to join hands in asking for Effiong’s unconditional release and the National Judiciary Commission (NJC) to investigate the injustice meted on Mr Effiong and also sanctions such a “political judge.”
“We salute the NBA for intervening so far in the matter and we extend solidarity with the NBA at this period. We will continue to call for immediate and unconditional release of Mr Inibehe. We call on people of good conscience and civil society groups to join us in demanding immediate unconditional release of Mr. Effiong.
“We call on the National Judicial Council (NJC) to call for public enquiry into this matter to investigate the injustice meted on Mr. Effiong and also sanction such a political judge that determines to ruin young people’s career on basis of political differences.
“The RSM will continue to be in solidarity with all oppressed people. People united can never be defeated,” the statement added.
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