Andy Essiet, Calabar
Peace Point Development Foundation – (PPDF), a civil society organisation working on Environmental Justice, Peace building, Human Rights and Good Governance in communities has called for the immediate release of human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong from prison.
Inibehe Effiong was sent to Ikot Ekpene Correctional Centre on July 29 over alleged contempt of court by the Akwa Ibom State chief Judge, Ekaette Obot while representing a defendant in a libel case filed by the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel and Senator Effiong Bob.
PPDF in a statement issued to some newsmen yesterday through the Programme Manager, Okoho Ene, condemned the detention describing it as “a calculated attempt to gradually silence the civil space” .
While demanding the immediate release of the human rights lawyer, the organisation noted, “we have carefully analysed events that have led to this arrest and we are taken aback over the fact that intentions to imprison Effiong was earlier expressed by the Chief Judge as reported by Punch Newspaper of July 2, 2022.
“We are very dismayed and disappointed that true to the threats, Effiong was finally imprisoned without fair hearing which is a cardinal principle of justice. We see this as a gross subversion of justice and judicial rascality.
“Worthy of suspicion is the discomfort the court had by the presence of Premium Times reporter. Thus, we insist that the pattern which this has taken is also a clear pointer to the fact that this will go beyond Inibehe Effiong to vocal voices in the civil space if this aberration is not corrected.”
PPDF therefore called on the National Judicial Council and the Nigerian Bar Association to immediately launch investigation into the issues thus restore justice and sanctity of the judiciary.