Human RightsNews

Nigerian Judge Sends Lawyer To Prison For Demanding Press Freedom

The lawyer was sent to prison by the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State in South-south Nigeria for demanding press freedom in court.

Inibehe Effiong, a human rights lawyer and activist, has been sent to prison by Ekaette Obot, the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State in South-south Nigeria, for demanding press freedom. 

Effiong was in court on Wednesday, July 27, to represent his client, Leo Ekpenyong, in a libel suit filed by Udom Emmanuel, Governor of Akwa Ibom, before Justice Obot court in Uyo.

He wrote on his Facebook page how Justice Obot had sent a journalist out of the courtroom and how he pleaded that the matter was of public interest that journalists should cover. 

“The Chief Judge of Akwa Akwa Ibom ordered a Premium Times reporter to leave the court. I said, my lord, we thought that since the proceeding is public, members of the public should be allowed to observe the proceeding,” Effiong wrote on his Facebook page. 

“My Lord asked me to proceed with cross-examination. I applied to the Court to ask the armed policemen with AK47 to leave the courtroom, that it was not proper and that I felt extremely unsafe and uncomfortable.”

“My Lord then started writing, and I thought it would be a ruling on my application to excuse the officers. But, instead, my Lord was writing a committal order to send me to Uyo prison.” 

Effiong said the judge did not allow him to present his case before he asked him to remove his wig and gown to proceed to the prison. “I wasn’t even allowed to say anything. My Lord just ordered me to remove my wig and gown, that I was going to prison,”  he said.

Effiong said that he had been rejected at Uyo prison because of COVID protocol and is currently back in court for the judge to determine where he should be jailed.

This development is coming three days after police in Zamfara State, Northwest Nigeria, arrested and detained Umaru Maradun, the correspondent of the Leadership Newspapers, for an undisclosed reason.

Last week the police raided the head office of Peoples Gazette located in the Utako area of the FCT and arrested five staff members. The journalists regained freedom hours after the intervention of Ken Eluma Asogwa, the newspaper’s lawyer. 

Media groups and local journalism unions have been advocating for the protection of journalists in Nigeria. As a result, Nigeria ranks 120 out of 180 countries on The World Press Freedom Index Reporters Without Borders.

Support Our Journalism

There are millions of ordinary people affected by conflict in Africa whose stories are missing in the mainstream media. HumAngle is determined to tell those challenging and under-reported stories, hoping that the people impacted by these conflicts will find the safety and security they deserve.

To ensure that we continue to provide public service coverage, we have a small favour to ask you. We want you to be part of our journalistic endeavour by contributing a token to us.

Your donation will further promote a robust, free, and independent media.

Donate Here

Of course, we want our exclusive stories to reach as many people as possible and would appreciate it if you republish them. We only ask that you properly attribute to HumAngle, generally including the author's name, a link to the publication and a line of acknowledgement. Contact us for enquiries or requests.

Contact Us

Adejumo Kabir

Kabir works at HumAngle as the Editor of Southern Operations. He is interested in community development reporting, human rights, social justice, and press freedom. He was a finalist in the student category of the African Fact-checking Award in 2018, a 2019 recipient of the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence, and a 2020 recipient of the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award. He was also nominated in the journalism category of The Future Awards Africa in 2020. He has been selected for various fellowships, including the 2020 Civic Media Lab Criminal Justice Reporting Fellowship and 2022 International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) 'In The Name of Religion' Fellowship.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Translate »