President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olumide Akpata, has said human rights lawyer Inibehe Effiong may serve out his unlawful one-month sentence after efforts to get Chief Judge Ekaette Obot to overturn her judgement were unsuccessful.
Mr Akpata not anticipating Ms Obot unwillingness to “further entertain the matter” said the NBA would appeal the judgement which may be prolonged and spill over the three weeks left of Mr Effiong’s jail time.
“This is not the outcome that we had expected because there is a high chance that Mr. Effiong would serve out his one-month custodial term before the end of the appeal,” he said.
Last week, Ms Obot had angrily and abruptly sent the human rights lawyer to prison for one month after he raised observations about the unusual presence of armed police officers in court.
The NBA president stressed the Court did not follow due process in sentencing the lawyer as he was neither put in the dock, told what his contempt was, nor was he given a fair hearing.
In light of the unconstitutional circumstance surrounding Mr Inibehe’s incarceration, Mr Akpata threatened to take the “matter up with the National Judicial Council”, a body responsible for disciplining erring judicial officers.
Commenters however said the NBA being handicapped to intervene and stop the sentence was rather frightening and disappointing as it may set a precedent for other power-drunk judges.
Nyesom Wike, Rivers state governor in May criticised the NBA, asserting the association was “only good at issuing statements of condemnation, without more, while the judiciary continues to suffer ferocious bouts of harassment.”