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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

How Udom Inoyo Inspired The Coalition of Lawyers to Seek Justice For Victims Against Police Brutality - Barr. Augustine Udoh

 ..says Mr. Inoyo inspired our collective ideals

A legal practitioner in Uyo and member of the 'Lawyers Coalition for Justice', Augustine Udoh, Esq has given details of how the former Vice Chairman of ExxonMobil Companies in Nigeria, Mr. Udom Inoyo helped inspire the coalition of lawyers to advocate 'pro bono' services for victims of police brutality in Akwa Ibom state.

Barr. Udoh in an article titled "Endsars Odyssey: Udom Inoyo & The Lawyers Coalition for Justice in Akwa Ibom State" pointed out that the lawyer's coalition made up of about 17 lawyers and led by the learned Etim Offiong, Esq represented thirty (30) Akwa Ibom residents to file a petition at the panel set up by Governor Udom Emmanuel to look into cases of police brutality in the state. 

He explained further that Mr. Inoyo made the gesture to give the less privileged a helping hand and to assure the aggrieved that they are not alone in whatsoever plight they are confronting in life. 

He said: "Meeting Mr. Udom Inoyo who inspired the idea of the Lawyers coalition was an opportunity for me to fully understand this man whose name has inundated the news in Akwa Ibom state in recent times. I wanted to retest what he had already communicated when the coalition was set up. And so, in the relaxed setting which his home offered, and the simple and amiable disposition which my first interaction with him revealed, I decided to ask what inspired his call for the setting up of a coalition of lawyers to advocate ‘pro-Bono."

"Mr. Inoyo’s response was simple but somewhat philosophical. He started with the need for us to understand the psychology of an oppressed and poor person which often leads to self-help, giving up, a mistrust of members of the society. The result is that oftentimes despite the government’s good intentions, the level of cynicism remains profound just as the anger in the land is persistent. Since we must realize that most people need a helping hand and a dose of hope, it is, therefore, important for those who are advantaged to assure the aggrieved that “they will not walk alone”. It is not just about money!  A practical way of demonstrating that empathy was to assemble lawyers who would take up their cases free of charge and give them justice."

Commending Governor Udom for setting up the Panel, the Panel Chair and her members for the timely completion of its work, and Mr. Inoyo for bringing the lawyers together to defend the victims, Barr. Udoh narrated that the opportunity created by Mr. Inoyo has been well utilized, identifying cases where victims freely presented their issues like the woman in Eket, Mrs. Inemesit Okon who was brutalized for not "settling" a police patrol team, and Mr. Matthew Etim Udo whose hand was cut off by his nephew, a policeman after an altercation. 

To the coalition of lawyers whose work began in January 2020, the gesture by Mr. Inoyo "gives much hope that justice, at least for some of these victims can still be found and that Governor Udom Emmanuel can stand out and win the hearts of the Akwa Ibom people and Nigerians by lessening the burdens of these victims either by monetary compensation or otherwise.

"Now that the panel has completed its work, justice is in appreciating them, our Governor who set up the panel expeditiously, Mr. Inoyo who inspired our collective ideals, and the dedicated lawyers who joined me in re-igniting hope for the most vulnerable and emasculated members of our community", he concluded.

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