…..Backs Femi Falana over legal action
A human rights activist, Comrade Adeniyi Alimi Sulaiman,has strongly condemned the inhuman treatment of an activist and lawyer, Barrister inibehe Effiong by Uyo Correctional Centre officials, saying their action was against the stipulated law guiding their professional conduct by forcefully shaving his hair without his consent.
Comrade Sulaiman also thrown its weight behind the position of a leading human rights lawyer, Barrister Femi Falana over his plan to institute an action against the Uyo Correctional Centre officials for their inhuman treatment of Barrister Effiong.
Sulaiman who is Executive Chairman,Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ) described the action of Uyo Correctional Centre officials as unprofessional,Illegal, ungodly, unconstitutional, barbaric, brutal, abberation, provocative, uncivilized and crime against God and humanity, which the lovers of democracy and justice should rise up to condemn in its entirety.
Barrister Effiong,who was convicted by the Acting Chief Judge of Akwa-Ibom State, Justice Ekaette Obot,to one month imprisonment for contempt of Court facie curiae, without trial on July 27,2022, while defending his client before the Court.
Sulaiman, who was speaking through a signed statement and copies were made available to newsmen on Monday, disclosed that his group (CHRSJ) is weighing the option of dragging Justice Ekaette Obot(+2348037016910) before the National Judicial Council (NJC), because her emotional and selfish decision has brought great stigma to the judicial system of the country among the comity of democratic nations of the world.
While commending Barrister Femi Falana,SAN, Barrister Ebun Adegboruwa,SAN, Barrister Jiti Ogunye,Chief (Barrister) Abdulfatai Abdulsalaam (Liberty), Lawyers Arise for Justice under the leadership of Barrister Tope Temokun-+2349069993837 and Barrister Pelumi Olajengbesi, Comrade Lanre Suraj and host of others, who rose up in defence of Barrister Inibehe Effiong over his present travail, he declared Barrister Effiong as “Prisoner of Conscience”
According to the statement, “Barrister Inibehe Effiong was subjected to another persecution in Uyo Correctional Centre. I am using this medium to call on the Minister of Interior, Mr. Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola whose his Ministry is in charge of the Correctional Centre in the country to fish out the officers that involved in such dastard and undemocratic act against the fundamental rights of Effiong with the sole aim of killing him(Effiong).
” Mr. Aregbesola should set up Independent Investigation Committee to look into the remote cause of inhuman treatment of Barrister Effiong in Uyo Correctional Centre”.
Sulaiman who doubles as Convener,Save Lagos Group (SLG), declared that Justice Ekaette and Correctional Centre officials involved in the inhuman treatment of Effiong, were planning to return Nigeria to the dark days of despot Military era, which all lovers of democracy and truth and defenders of human rights should rise up to curtail.
Barrister Falana further reported that Justice Ekaette refused to make available the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the order of the record of proceedings of the Court in order to make it difficult for Effiong to explore his fundamental rights of applying to Appeal Court for reviewing of Justice Ekaette one month conviction and sentence imposed on Effiong.
The action which the legal luminary said it contravened the section 36(7) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,as amended.
Falana stated that the warrant signed by the Judge directed that the 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 recently as Inibehe was forcefully transferred to Uyo Correctional Centre in handcuffs even though there was no violence on his part,adding that at the Uyo Correctional Centre, Inibehe was forced to sit on bare floor while his head was shaved together with his beard and Effiong was thereafter subjected to more horrendous humiliation and paraded before all prison inmates.
His words: 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.
“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 submitted.