Inibehe Effiong, a legal practitioner, has filed a suit against Ekaette Obot, chief judge of Akwa Ibom, over alleged violation of his fundamental human rights.
On July 27, Effiong was sent to prison by the Akwa Ibom state chief judge, after the lawyer reportedly protested against the presence of armed policemen in court.
The human rights lawyer was in court to defend Leo Ekpenyong, a lawyer, in a libel suit filed by Udom Emmanuel, governor of Akwa Ibom.
Many Nigerians, including civil society organisations (CSOs), have called for the release of the human rights lawyer.
In the suit filed before the Uyo division of the federal high court through Femi Falana, human rights lawyer; Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, a senior advocate of Nigeria and other lawyers, Effiong is asking the court for an order directing the chief judge to furnish him with a copy of the judgement committing him to prison to enable him to file an appeal.
In an affidavit deposed by Aniema Akpan, secretary in Inibehe Effiong chambers, the applicant was said to have applied for a copy of the judgment via two different letters dated July 29 and August 12 respectively.
“That without any reason whatsoever, the respondent has refused to furnish the applicant with a copy of the judgment,” the affidavits read.
“That as a result of the refusal of the respondent to furnish the applicant with a copy of the judgment, he has not been able to appeal against the judgment before the court of appeal.
“That the refusal to furnish the applicant with a copy of the judgment over 14 days after his conviction is prejudicial to the applicant’s fundamental right to fair hearing.”
Consequently, Inibehe is asking for “a declaration that the applicant who was jailed on July 27, 2022, by the Akwa Ibom state high court presided order by the respondent on account of contempt of court is entitled to a copy of the judgment within seven days of the conclusion of the case”.
“A declaration that the refusal of the respondent to make a copy of her judgment available to the applicant since the 27th of July, 2022 despite applicant’s repeated application for same is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates Section 36(7) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.
“An order directing the respondent to furnish the applicant with a copy of the judgment delivered on July 27, 2022 forthwith.”