The saying by Lord Acton, a British historian of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, that “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”, can be said to be a truism as it played out in the life of one Uduak Nseobot, a councillor in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
Some people especially those who never dreamt of being around the corridors of power when they eventually did reportedly mismanage it to the detriment of people.
The former Councillor it was gathered, in connivance with his wife, Aniedi accused one Iniubong Essien of stealing the money sprayed on them during their (Couple) traditional marriage.
The accusation and embarrassment on the said lady was not enough for the former councillor, he went ahead to abduct the lady from Uyo to Ibiono Ibom his village where he can fully exercise his power and authority.
The lady was stripped in the public, tied and charcoal rubbed all over her body even as she was forced to dance in the public naked by the order of the then councillor.
According to an eyewitness who pleaded anonymity, “They accused Iniubong of stealing their money, that was “sprayed” on them at their wedding ceremony.
“The former councillor who was in office at that time brought her to the village square, asked the boys to paint her body with charcoal and tied a rope round her waist, forcing her to dance naked before some community people.”
Not yet satisfied with the level of humiliation and embarrassment meted on the lady, Uduak (former councillor) was said to have gone further to get the lady arrested by the police and instituted a lawsuit against her promising to ensure that she rots in jail for stealing.
Unfortunately for the former councillor, the coin turned against him as a Lagos based human rights activist Inibehe Effiong (Esq) got a wind of the incident and took up the case pro bono.
Court, The Last Hope of a Common Man
The intent at which the then councillor took the matter to court became counter productive as the judgement turned against him and his wife.
The case which started since November 2018 was finally put to rest on January 2021 with the court ruling in favour of Iniubong. That is to say that justice delayed is not justice denied.
The Akwa Ibom High Court in Uyo last week ordered the former councillor to pay Iniubong N4million for assaulting and forcing his victim to dance naked in the public.
The court presided by Justice Edem Akpan also ordered the duo- Uduak Nseobot and his wife, Aniedi- to pay additional N200,000 to cover the cost of litigation.
Delivering judgment in the case, Justice Edem Akpan said what the former councillor and his wife did to the woman was “totally condemnable.”
The judge added that the man’s action was a typical disregard Nigerian politicians have for citizens’ rights, adding that by their own affidavits, the man and his wife “admitted to committing the atrocities” and that they had no defence for what they did.
Speaking with journalists, Iniubong’s lawyer, Effiong, who had filed the fundamental rights enforcement suit on behalf of Iniubong, said his client had been vindicated by the judgment.
“From the outset, the evidence was very compelling. What the former councillor did was quite outrageous. I think that is about one of the most grievous examples of human rights violations (in Nigeria).