June 5, 2023

Inibehe Effiong was illegally sentenced to one month imprisonment as he was charged for ‘contempt of court’ by Chief judge Ekaette Obot based on a standing trial defamation case on a client ,Leo Ekpenyong .

The torture followed as it was reported that Effiong has been harassed by the warders who shaved his hair with ‘blunt objects ’.

Human right activist, Barrister Falana however reacted to this , condemning the act as he said it was a violation of his (Inibehe) fundamental human right as guaranteed under constitution.

“The brutal torture meted out to Inibehe by the prison officials in Akwa Ibom State constitutes a violent violation of his fundamental right to dignity guaranteed by section 34 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004”, Mr Falana pointed out in a statement.

Meanwhile, Mr Falana has said Ms Obot had refused to convince him with a certified true copy of her judgment convicting the lawyer to prison “In order to prevent Inibehe from appealing against the conviction and sentence.” as section 36(7) of the constitution prescribes that every convict is entitled to the certified true copy of the judgement that tried and also convicted him.

Activists are taking actions as protest was made in Uyo ,Akwa Ibom to condemn the humiliation of their colleague , also on Twitter with #FreeInibeheEffiong.

“However, the warrant signed by the Judge directed that Effiong be held in Ikot Ekpene Correctional Centre, Akwa Ibom throughout the duration of his prison term. But the order of the Court was secretly varied today as Inibehe was forcefully transferred to Uyo Correctional Centre in handcuffs even though there was no violence on his part. At the Uyo Correctional Centre, Inibehe was forced to sit on the bare floor while his head was shaved together with his beard. He was thereafter subjected to more horrendous humiliation and paraded before all prison inmates”, Mr Falana added in the statement.

“It is painful to note that the unprovoked violence unleashed on Inibehe is a sad reminder of the case of Minere Amakiri, then a reporter with Nigerian Observer, the old Bendel State owned newspapers whose head was shaved with a broken bottle in 1973 on the orders of Alfred Diette-Spiff, the then Military governor of the State.“Apart from challenging the egregious infringement of the fundamental right of Inibehe to the dignity of his person and fair hearing we shall press for the prosecution of the officials who inflicted torture on him contrary to the provision of section 2 of the Anti Torture Act of 2017. The penalty for the offence of inflicting torture on any person in Nigeria is 25 years imprisonment without any option of fine.” Falana stated.

Marvelous Ogidi

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