Activist and lawyer, Mr. Inibehe Effiong, has commended Justice Abdul Kafarati, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, for acting on his petition against the practice of seizing mobile phones and other communication gadgets from lawyers by security officials in the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The commendation was conveyed in a statement personally signed by Mr. Effiong. He recalled that on 8 March, he submitted a petition against the practice to the office of Justice Kafarati.
“I wish to express my profound appreciation to My Lord, the Honourable Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, for acting swiftly to redress the wrong done to the psyche, prestige and rights of Nigerian lawyers, who were constantly humiliated and harassed over the policy. The dignity of lawyers has been restored at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court. Lawyers can now enter the Temple of Justice where they are ministers by virtue of their call as Barristers and Solicitors of the Supreme Court of Nigeria with their phones and other communication gadgets,” said Mr. Effiong.
He stated that to the shame of the legal profession, the now discarded policy, had gone unchallenged for long. He added that lawyers were demoralized and scandalized by the refusal of security men to allow them take their phones into the main building of the Federal High Court in Abuja. He added that such practice does not exist even at the Supreme Court.
Mr. Effiong equally stated that he is aware that lawyers are also not allowed to take their phones into virtually all police stations in the country when going to see their clients or suspects. He said he is at a loss as to why this is the situation and declared that he will challenge the legality of the practice.
“Accordingly, I shall be submitting a petition to the Inspector-General of Police within the month on the matter and if no action is taken within 14 days thereafter, to redress it, I shall approach the Federal High Court to seek redress. Let it be known that these actions are not intended to seek attention or to make anyone a hero. It is only our modest contribution to widen the democratic space in Nigeria and promote the cause of human rights and justice. Lawyers are also victims of injustice and rights abuses. If lawyers cannot fight for their rights, how will they fight for the rights of the common man in Nigeria,” he said.