The Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Ekaette Obot, has ordered the imprisonment of popular human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, for defending a Premium Times reporter.
Naija News reports that the human rights lawyer made this known in a message he posted on his WhatsApp status on Wednesday morning.
Effiong, who is the National Legal Adviser of African Alliance Congress Party (AACP), stated that he was sent to Uyo prison by the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State for one month “for defending Leo Ekpenyong in a libel suit filed by Governor Udom Emmanuel.”
Confirming the arrest, another lawyer in Uyo stated hat the judge pronounced the prison sentence against Effiong, who is a Lagos based lawyer.
Giving updates in on the incident on his Twitter page, Effiong wrote: “I have just been sent to Uyo prison by the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Ekaette Obot, for one month for defending Leo Ekpenyong in the libel suit filed by Governor Udom Emmanuel.
”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.
“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.”
Naija News reports that Justice Obot, in previous proceedings, had reportedly ordered court officials to temporarily seize phones from reporters and others in the courtroom, apparently to prevent the proceedings from being recorded secretly.