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Group Backs Akwa Ibom CJ over Inibehe Effiong’s unruly behavior in court

A group, Akwa Ibom Integrity Alliance has described as condemnable, scarilegious and an abuse of democracy, recent unruly behavior exhibited by a lawyer, Barr. Inibehe Effiong in court during an ongoing libel suit instituted against one Mr. Leo Ekpenyong.

The group has also urged the President, Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Olumide Akpata, Esq to caution Inibehe Effiong accordingly, following his fragrant disregard to decency in the court.

Addressing newsmen, Sunday in Uyo, Chairman of the group, Barr. Stephen Abia who frowned at what he described as Inibehe’s contemptuous conduct, posited that Justice Ekaette Obot transfers the matter to another judge, to avoid the continuous insolent behavior of Mr Effiong towards her.


“To avoid a continuous desecration of the temple of justice of which the Honourable Chief Judge remains the chief priest, especially, taken for granted that our learned friend, Mr. Inibehe Effiong, may not in truth be purged of such unfortunate contemptuous displays towards the court in cheap attempts to play to the gallery, we most humbly seek the relief of the Honourable State Chief Judge to consider being recused of the matter as he continues to jealously guard and protect the sanctity of the justice delivery machineries in Akwa Ibom State.”

The group enjoined members of the public to disregard what he observed as false information being propagated by those he described as miscreants.

Recall that Akwa Ibom State High Court presided over by the State Chief Judge, Justice Ekaette Obot had last week ordered that Inibehe Effiong be remanded in jail term for one month over contemptuous and insulting behavior in court.

The Judge had ruled that Inibehe be sent to the correctional facility to purge himself of insolence and dishonorable acts that tend to bring the court to disrepute.

Barr Abia however noted that while democracy encourages human freedom such as the right to expression, Akwa Ibom Integrity Alliance believes that such rights should not be abused or used for the purpose of destroying societal cohesion and “our fledgling democracy, which is the responsibility of every state to protect in consonance with Aristotle’s postulate in his Nichomachean Ethics that, “the state is a necessary condition of a good life.”

He maintained that, “The Akwa Ibom Integrity Alliance had earlier urged the President of the Nigeria Bar Association, Olumide Akpata, Esq. to caution Inibehe accordingly, following his fragrant disregard to decency which he constantly exhibits at the court during the ongoing libel suit instituted against one Mr. Leo Ekpenyong.”

“We could recall that in 2019, following the victory of Governor Udom Emmanuel at the tribunal and the victory of Senator Chris Ekpenyong over Senator Godswill Akpabio at the tribunal and Court of Appeal, Leo Ekpenyong inundated the media in August 2019 with claims that the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel bribed the tribunal judges to the tune of $1.5 Million Dollars to secure judgment in favour of Dr. Chris Ekpenyong. The said publication titled, “Justice for Sale in Akwa Ibom State National Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal”.

“The Governor, through the then Attorney General, Uwemedimo Nwoko wrote and urged Barr Ekpenyong to retract that story and apologize to the Governor, failure of which would lead to legal actions. Leo Ekpenyong insisted that he stood by his allegations against the Governor and insisted that he had further evidence to show the world that the Governor bought the judgement. Rather than show remorse, Ekpenyong went on to our vituperations on the person of the Governor and the learned silk, Uwemedimo Nwoko,SAN, calling them disdainful names and threatening to publish his investigative reports with the national judicial council”.

“The Governor through his counsel, Barr. Samuel Ikpo filed a case of defamation against Leo Ekpenyong at the State High court in September 2019. Leo Ekpenyong neither made any appearance in court, nor did he send his representative Barr Patrick Umoh, despite being dully served. The court later ruled on December 15, 2020 that Leo Ekpenyong should pay a fine of N1Billion to the Governor as damages for libel”.

“Leo Ekpenyong then contracted another lawyer, Inibehe Effiong who later came to the Court praying to the court to reverse the judgment, that he was ready to make an appearance and defend his case. The court presided over by the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Ekaette Obot graciously granted the sought prayers: reversed the previous judgment, hence, affording the defendant ample opportunity to put up defense accordingly— it is unfortunate that the revered Chief Judge was opening bare the courtroom for the legal counsel to Leo Ekpenyong in the person of Inibehe Effiong, Esq. to abuse the judge severally, throw tantrums at the court, and later alleged that the judge was biased, and so, should be recused from the case.
As a background, it is instructive to note the Court, on July 27, was entertaining the last witness brought by the prosecution counsel, when Inibehe Effiong put up some discouraging attitude. A certain reporter with Premium Times, Saviour Imukudo was caught video recording the session with his mobile phone, against courts protocol. Resultantly, the phone was confiscated and the reporter ordered to leave the courtroom by the judge.

“In his usual juvenile disposition, Inibehe insisted that the judge should rule on a motion he had earlier moved, for the judge to recuse self from the case and that he was not comfortable with the presence of law enforcement officers in the courtroom”

“In her prerogative, Justice Ekaette Obot insisted on going on with the case, prompting Inibehe to start accusing her of bias and unfair handling of the case. Barr Effiong had despite repeated warnings from the State Chief Judge, constantly acerbic words on the Judge, alleging that she was taking the matter personal and also queried her decision to send the journalist out of the courtroom”.

Rising in defense of the Chief Judge, the group maintained that the decision by Justice Obot to commit the unruly lawyer to prison for his contemptuous conduct before the Chief Judge was in court, was in order, as that would serve as deterrent to Barr. Inibehe and his likes, as the continuous desecration of the temple of justice cannot be tolerated.

Abia said the sanctity of the court must be upheld at all times.

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