Akwa Ibom Group Warns Falana, Others Over Incessant Insults On Chief Judge
More groups in Akwa Ibom State have carpeted a senior lawyer, Femi Falana, and others engaging in actions against the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Ekaette Obot, calling for an end to the insults.
The president of Afid Iwad Ekid, Mr Etienne Bob, in a praise conference in Uyo on Wednesday, that Falana’s recent utterances and actions were inimical to the growth and the long standing respect for seniors that the judiciary is known.
Bob expressed surprise that a lawyer of long standing repute as Falana could join in instituting a suit against a Judge over a judgement passed on a junior lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, who disrespected the court during proceedings.
The president reasoned that Falana could have appealed against the judgement rather than supporting a junior lawyer who displayed unwarranted radicalism during proceedings, sued a Chief Judge and called on him to refrain from his actions which have began to constitute a nuisance to the prevailing peace in the State.
He also called on Effiong, who is due to leave the prison next week to exercise restraint and learn how to obey his seniors in the profession inorder for him to grow and enjoy his career.
In the light of the above, a group of like minds, Akwa Ibom Integrity Alliance says it is deeply grieved by the continuous projection of Akwa Ibom Sate and the State Judiciary in negative lights by persons who are deliberately out to drag the reputation of the people of the state in the mud. The group during a media interaction in Uyo, Thursday described as sad the current development since the take over of the libel suit involving Mr. Leo Ekpenyong by his lawyer, Inibehe Effiong.
Giving a background of the case, Chairman of the group, Barr. Stephen Abia recalled that on the 27th of July, 2022, counsel to Leo Ekpenyong in the said libel case, Mr. Inibehe Effiong was sentenced to jail term of 30 days by the court for contempt.
Abia explained that Ekpenyong’s defense counsel had displayed gross disrespect towards the court, reason he was shown disciplined by the court.
But Abia is worried that the incidence has triggered series of uninformed reactions, one being the institution of a legal matter by a group of lawyers against the Chief Judge of the state.
Mr. Abia also called on the security agencies to be alert and close in on those who choose to hide under the guise of politics to plot mayhem in the state.
“Without any equivocation, it should be on record that the said legal processes adorning the media space is completely misplaced. While we sympathize with Mr. Inibehe Effiong on his predicament, Mr. Femi Falana and Co. need be reminded that Mr. Effiong is not under detention of any sort, rather, serving a jail or prison term. Having made the instant conviction, the Judge is naturally functus on that matter. Is it not common-sensical that the right of a convict terminates the moment he his convicted, and would only be exhumed on appeal? The current move is, summarily, an abuse of court process”
“The allegation that the Chief Judge has refused to release the Certified True Copy of the court proceedings is clearly only within the imagination of the speculators. Lawyers know the realities on ground, and know how to get court proceedings. It is the usual practice that the Chief Judge is under a legal obligation to give his ruling to the Assistant Court Registrar for certification to the applicants. I am sure Inibehe’s case cannot be an exception. The questions one would naturally ask at this point are: Is the Chief Judge responsible for the issuing of CTCs of judgments? Is there any express order from the Chief Judge denying access to the proceedings? Can we not, therefore, see that this is clearly an administrative function?”
“Why the lawyers led by Falana, SAN, are out to sue the Akwa Ibom State Chief Judge beats one’s imagination.
“Was it right for the young lawyer to question the constitutional majesty of the court? We are even so moved to ask whether judges in Yoruba land are usually sued for delivering judgments when such are not in favour of a certain party, or is Akwa Ibom state the Guinea Pig for wrong precedents? The media-hype-style of litigation commonly associated with some lawyers at the point of filing proceedings, and nothing more, is only meant to deceive the masses and laymen, and again, play to the gallery”.
On the case before him, the Akwa Ibom Integrity Alliance reminded Inibehe that 90 days await him to appeal against the judgement, and wondered why he resorts to instituting a case against the person of the Chief Judge. Abia maintained that the group would resist any attempt to belittle the state, warning those behind the plot to drag the state in the mud to have a rethink.
“The truth we need to tell ourselves is that Mr. Inibehe Effiong has 90 days to Appeal against the judgment. That is the law. So, why this suit against the State Chief Judge? Again, lawyers know that the fact that you have filed an appeal in less than one month does not guarantee that the appeal will be heard immediately. We know this truth. We know the reality in appellate practice. This suit is, therefore, a storm in the tea cup, or trying to make a mountain out of a molehill! It serves only to impress the public”, the group added.