Nigeria: Jailed Activist, Inibehe Effiong, 18 Others Regain Freedom From Akwa Ibom Prison

After completing his one-month jail term slammed on him by the Chief Judge (CJ) of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Ekaette Obot, for alleged contempt of court, lawyer and human rights activist, Mr. Inibehe Effiong, has regained his freedom.

Effiong was released alongside 18 other inmates, remanded wrongly at the Uyo Custodial Centre in Akwa Ibom State.

Addressing journalists shortly after stepping out of the custodial facility, Effiong maintained his innocence, saying he was wrongly incarcerated for raising two objections concerning the presence of two armed Mobile Policemen inside the courtroom and opposing the CJ’s decision to evict a journalist from the courtroom.

Speaking on his one-month stay in prison, Effiong said his Bible and other legal books were his main companions, adding that the period gave him the opportunity to take a break from his usual busy schedules, to sleep and interact with inmates to ascertain their offenses.

Lamenting that the criminal justice system has been totally mortgaged, Effiong disclosed that his interaction with inmates at the Custodial Centre afforded him the opportunity to discover that “so many inmates are innocent”.

He explained that his discovery forced him to undertake a legal battle from inside the prison to free 18 inmates, saying one of them who completed the bail process was earlier freed on Thursday, while the 17 others would be freed on Friday.

He explained that most of them were admitted to bail, but their release could not be facilitated because of lack of money and sureties to stand to guarantee them bail.

“I thank God for making me a free man today. I have just finished my one month opportunity with destiny, toeing the line of the late human rights lawyer, Gani Fawehinmi. I consider it an honour to be incarcerated for standing by the truth,” Effiong said, adding that his committal to prison would not dampen his enthusiasm to continue to fight for the oppressed people of the society.

He, therefore, commended the national president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata, SAN; Chief Femi Falana, SAN; concerned civil society groups and the media for their various roles in the struggle to free him prison custody.

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