A group of concerned civic space actors, family, and colleagues of human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, have kicked against his transfer from the Ikot Ekpene Medium Security Custodial Center to the Uyo Custodial Center.
Inibehe was jailed by the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Ekaette Obot for alleged contempt.
Inibehe has spent two weeks out of the one month at the Ikot Ekpene facility and was transferred on Wednesday morning, his colleague, Augustine Asuquo said, Cross Rivers Watch reports.
“I went to Ikot Ekpene to see him this morning, and I was told he has been transferred to Uyo, and I am heading there now to see him,” Asuquo said on the phone.
“I wonder why they will do that because Uyo (custodial center) is not even a safe place for him. They are saying he was sent on quarantine to Ikot Ekpene, and they have to bring him here now.
A relative of the incarcerated lawyer who spoke on condition of anonymity added that he was scared for Inibehe’s life.
“I have been informed that he has been moved, and I am not happy. Maybe, they want to be monitoring him because the Uyo prison is next to the Chief Judge’s office and the Governor’s office,” the relative said.
Obot had on July 27, 2022, ordered the one-month imprisonment of Effiong over alleged contempt.
The human rights lawyer, who is also the National Legal Adviser of the African Action Congress (AAC), was in court to defend Leo Ekpenyong, a lawyer, in a libel suit filed by Udom Emmanuel, governor of Akwa Ibom.
Meanwhile, the illegal imprisonment has attracted condemnation from civil society organisations and many Nigerians.
The Revolution Now convener and a presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore in a post on his Twitter handle on Wednesday announced that there would be a protest on Thursday to kick against the illegal action of the power-drunk judge.
He wrote, “#FreeInibeheEffiong protest will rock Uyo, Akwa Ibom state tomorrow. Please join us! #WeCantContinueLikeThis #Revolutionnow.”
Similarly, a non-governmental organisation, ‘Nude Nigeria-The Best Man,’ in collaboration with Next-of-Kin and some concerned youths of Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State last Saturday, took to the streets to protest the incarceration of Effiong.
The protesters, who displayed placards with inscriptions such as: “Injury to one is injury to all”, “Free Inibehe Effiong Now!”, “Justice for Inibehe Effiong,” and “We demand immediate release of Inibehe,” called on to the Judge to immediately order the release of the lawyer.
Addressing journalists during the joint protest in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, the convener of ‘Nude Nigeria-The Best Man’, Princess Mikki Attah, expressed disappointment over the continued incarceration of Effiong whom she described as a law-abiding citizen.
She said she decided to join other voices in calling for Effiong’s release after learning about how Effiong was sent to jail for asking the Chief Judge to send security men out of the courtroom.