Corruption has eaten deep into every fabrics of Nigeria’s judicial system; the system has been monetised by corrupt judges who are controlled by the highest bidders.
The hopes of oppressed people have been shattered, murdered with a single pen in the hands of corrupt judges who serve as tools for the oppressors.
Hundreds of innocent citizens have been sent to prison despite committing no offence except that they were fighting for justice.
Our judicial system presided over by corrupt judges has been weakened by these corrupt officials who prioritise the interests of politicians against the dictates of the rule of law.
Good lawyers have a fundamental role to play in the society; they serve as hope to the hopeless.
Inibehe Effiong is a young, vibrant human rights lawyer in Nigeria who for years has used his profession to save many innocent citizens out of jail – citizens unjustly arrested by state actors known for arbitrarily oppressing law-abiding people with the power at their disposal.
On July 27, power-drunk Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Ekaette Obot, sentenced Inibehe Effiong to one month in prison over alleged contempt. Obot in her ruling proved to the world that she did not merit the position she occupies and that she’s simply being used as a tool to advance the clandestine interests of the anti-people establishment.
Inibehe is one of the vocal voices that have been speaking out in the wilderness, he has been subjected to humiliation and torture simply for standing on the side of justice and fairness, and he became a thorn on the flesh of many corrupt judges like Ekaette Obot.
It appears that Ekaette Obot does dirty jobs for Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom as the Chief Judge of state. Her illegal action proved that she is a stooge to Governor Udom Emmanuel, and people like her can do anything to gain everything.
What provoked her was that Inibehe had the guts to raise the alarm stating that he wasn’t feeling comfortable and safe having seen two heavily armed mobile policemen seated inside the courtroom.
Prior to being jailed, Inibehe himself wrote that: “I applied for the judge to excuse the armed policemen from the courtroom. The Hon. Chief Judge then ordered me to step out of the bar, that she was sending me to prison. She then ordered the policemen to take me to Uyo prison. And that I should be in jail for one month. I will be going to Uyo Correctional Centre now. I have not done anything. I wasn’t even given the opportunity to say anything before the “conviction”. Two lawyers in the court appealed to the Hon. Chief Judge but My Lord insisted that I must be jailed.”
He was seen being handcuffed, dragged and bundled inside a van as though he were criminal. It is clear that the affairs of this country are in the hands of bandits and terrorists, or such a thing would never happen before our own eyes.
Despite the fact that his sentence was unlawful, Inibehe was subjected to torture and abuses in Uyo prison, where prison wardens forcefully used razor blades to shave his hair and beard. If a human rights lawyer of Inibehe’s stature can be treated like a common criminal in this country, what would be the fate of the ordinary citizens?
Nigerians should not only condemn the criminal ruling against the fundamental rights of Inibehe but should also petition Amnesty International, ECOWAS, AU, NBA, and NJC with other stakeholders across the globe and make sure that the power-drunk Chief Judge Ekaette Obot is dismissed, so as to serve as a deterrent to other corrupt judges whose hands are not clean.
It is high time for all Nigerians to rise and start calling out corrupt judges in the country like the overzealous Chief Judge Ekaette Obot.
If the judiciary is the last hope of the common man, why should those who are saddled with the responsibility of upholding equity and justice compromise and turn against the same rule of law they were meant to uphold?