Following the recent imprisonment order of human rights lawyer, Barrister Inibehe Effiong for period of a month while defending his client in an open Court by the presiding Justice of Akwa-Ibom State High Court, Justice Ekaette Obot(+2348037016910) over what she(Obot) termed as contempt of Court by the lawyer to ask the Court not to allow armed security men in an open Court.
A human rights activist and Executive Chairman, Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ) Comrade Adeniyi Alimi Sulaiman, has urged the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Honourable Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, not to allow some State Judges to destroy the judicial system of the country with frivolous, illegal and bias Orders, Rulings and Judgements emanated from the various State High Courts in the country.
He also advised the apex body of the bench under the watch of the Chief Justice of Nigeria(CJN) to set machinery in motion to checkmate the frivolous, illegal and unlawful pronouncements from the State High Courts across the land that made litigants to loose the hope in approaching the Courts for redress, adding that lost of hope by Nigerians in the nation’s judicial system lead to incessants jungle justice among the populace.
He also alleged that most of the State Judges had turned the Court of justice and equality to Court of injustice and inequality.
Comrade Sulaiman who strongly condemned the action of Justice Ekaette Obot for sending Barrister Effiong to a month jail term without trial for contempt of Court, describing her action as illegal, unlawful,aberration, evil, unconstitutional, barbaric, undemocratic and crime against God and humanity, adding that this was national embarrassment to the entire judiciary of the country.
He added that the action of Justice Obot went against the provision of the section 36(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) that she sworn to uphold at all times in discharging of her constitutional duty, Calling for immediate and unconditional release of the Barrister Effiong with writing apology from the Apex body of the bench to Effiong and Nigeria Bar Association.
Reacting to the development through a signed press statement and copies were made available to newsmen on Tuesday, he declared that Justice Ekaette Obot had failed an integrity test as a jurist with her illegal and unlawful action, adding that there should be punitive measure for Justice Obot from the National Judicial Council (NJC) in order to serve as deterrent to other Judges that might have the same mindset and indioshycretic tendency of Justice Obot in the nearest future in our judicial system.
He further stated that most of the State Judges were breaker of the rule of law by encouraging the highest bidders before the Court to disrespect the pronouncements of the Court at Will, because something has exchanged their hands, citing the traditional ruler cases where those violated the Court Orders at Will were given priority to continue disobedience and disrespect the Court without severe punishment for such action as stipulated by the law.
Sulaiman recalled that Justice Olanrewaju Akeredolu of an Ondo State High Court was in the same character with Obot of using their position as Judge of the State High Court to perpetrate evils against their perceived enemies.
According to the rights activist” This is too bad and pathetic in our judicial system. A judicial personnel in the temple of justice should uphold the tenets of the process by ensuring equality before the law and adjudicate without fear or favour but reverse was the case of State Judges today. The action of the Presiding Judge shows clearly that the Judge has hidden agenda on the subject matter before her.
“Some State High Court Judges have turned themselves to the appendage of members of the State Executive Council and money bag parties in a case. The National Judicial Council(NJC) should wake up from its slumber to save our judicial system by purging the respected bench from the bad eggs of those who are selling court judgement by giving timeline to the cases at the each level of the Court in the country to the letter.”
The action of Justice Ekaette Obot is national embarrassment to the justice system of the country and if the care is not taken, the judiciary would become toothless bull dog that can only bark but cannot bite as submitted by the late legal luminary, Chief F.R.A. Williams in the case of Chief Okoya and others Vs. Santilli and others(1991)7NWLR(part 206)753-760.
You will recalled that Effiong who is Lagos based human rights Lawyer, was a Counsel handling a case for his client,Leo Ekpenyoung in a libel suit filled by Governor Udom Emmanuel before Justice Obot’s Court in Uyo, the capital of Akwa-Ibom State.
It was reported that the Judge had earlier during the proceeding had ordered a Premium Times reporter to leave the Court where the Lawyer draw the attention of the Judge to the proceeding as for public and members of the public should be allowed to observe the proceeding during the cross- examination. Sulaiman therefore, called on the well meaning Nigerians and lovers of democracy and justice to rise up against this illegal decision of the Justice of Akwa-Ibom State.
Signed: COMRADE ADENIYI, ALIMI SULAIMAN (Revolutionary Alfa)Executive Chairman, CHRSJ +2348038591504 /+2348022697573