AKWA IBOM, Nigeria – A legal practitioner, Inibehe Effiong, has condemned “the desecration” of the judiciary in Akwa Ibom State on Wednesday, in a case involving President Muhammadu Buhari and Akwa Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel.
Four citizens, who took part in a peaceful protest led by End Bad Governance Initiative, were arrested by the Police on Tuesday outside Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
They are Idopise Ette Oton, Obot MfonGod, God’sfriend Michael and Victor Nta George.
The group had gone to the legislature to express their dissatisfaction with bad leadership, ASUU strike, freezing of accounts of End SARS protesters, border closure, increment in electricity tariff and fuel pump price, among others.
The demonstrators also kicked against the provisions in the 2021 budget presented to the House by Emmanuel.
In a statement on Thursday, Effiong said they were “illegally charged before the Magistrate’s Court in Uyo presided over by Chief Magistrate Winifred Umohandy with fraudulent, malicious and frivolous charge of forming intention to overthrow President Buhari and Governor Emmanuel.”
He noted that upon their arraignment, objection was raised to the competence of the treasonable felony charge on the ground that the Magistrate’s Court lacks jurisdiction.
Chief Magistrate Winifred Umohandy struck out the charge and discharged the four protesters.
Effiong said as the Magistrate stepped into her chambers, policemen invaded the courtroom located at Fulga Street, Off Ikot Ekpene Road, Uyo, brutalized the citizens and took them away.
“The protesters, who were freed by the court are still in the custody of the police. This shameful action by governor Udom Emmanuel is only the latest in a string of dictatorial actions that Mr Udom Emmanuel has carried out since he came to office.
“It is shameful that Udom Emmanuel, who pretends to be an opposition leader in the country, has desecrated the hallowed temple of justice in his bid to quell all forms of dissent in the State.
“It is distasteful that the recently posted Police Commissioner, CP Amiengheme Andrew, has reduced the State Police Command to a political weapon for corrupt politicians, and allowed himself to be used as tool by the governor to witch-hunt citizens who are merely exercising their rights under the Nigerian Constitution.”
The lawyer demanded the immediate release of the protesters.
He urged the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), civil society, human rights activists, the media, and the international community to rescue Akwa Ibom people and “halt the reign of terror of the Emmanuel-led regime.”