A Lagos-based human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, on Monday, paid a visit to the ailing Nigerian lecturer, Inih Ebong, who was unjustly sacked about two decades ago by the University of Uyo.
Mr Ebong is suffering from a life-threatening cardiovascular disease.
The lecturer has been out of job for so long and without any alternative source of income, he does not have the money to pay for medical bills or even feed himself and his family.
Mr Ebong was an associate professor in the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Uyo, when his appointment was unlawfully terminated in 2002. Akpan Ekpo and Peter Effiong were the vice-chancellor and registrar of the institution respectively at the time.
Three successive vice-chancellors of the university have refused to reinstate him, despite an unbroken string of victories at different courts.
Mr Ebong, before his sack, had a running battle with Messrs Ekpo and Effiong, who saw him as a thorn in their side for speaking up regularly against alleged maladministration and corruption in the school.
“It would be a shame, the blood of Dr Inih Ebong will be on the management, will be on the Senate and the Governing Council of the University of Uyo if Dr Inih Ebong dies, without getting justice,” said the lawyer, Mr Effiong, who flew in from Lagos to show sympathy and solidarity with the lecturer.
Mr Effiong, with his phone, did a live Facebook broadcast at Mr Ebong’s home in Uyo, where he passionately appealed for people’s intervention and support for the ailing lecturer.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Enefiok Essien, is a professor of law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
Mr Effiong, in his broadcast, reminded Mr Essien of the oath he took before the Supreme Court, when he was given the award of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, to defend the law and human rights.
“If this case is not resolved in your tenure, who else would resolve it?” he said.
“I am appealing to Professor Enefiok Essien, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Uyo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, who was my dean when I was a student in the faculty of law, to please temper justice with mercy.
“I know this did not start in your time, but history will remember you if you resolve this case.
“You don’t need to spend money on litigation, the money you could use in building and equipping libraries for the students,” he added.
The lawyer appealed to the Akwa Ibom State Government, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, and other members of the public to intervene in Mr Ebong’s case.
He publicised Mr Ebong’s bank account details and appealed for financial support to enable the lecturer to get urgent medical care.
Mr Ebong, who looked terribly emaciated and could barely talk, thanked Mr Effiong for the visit.
He told the lawyer how he almost got a teaching appointment with a university in Australia but for a public disclaimer on him by the University of Uyo.
“It’s so sad. He gave me admission then to study theatre arts,” a Facebook user, Blessing Mbakwe, commented on Mr Effiong’s broadcast. “He was a good lecturer.”