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Lawyer, Inibehe Effiong Takes On Erisco CEO Over Alleged Defamation

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LAGOS, Nigeria – Human rights lawyer Inibehe Effiong has demanded evidence from Eric Umeofia, CEO of Erisco Foods Limited, supporting Umeofia’s claim that Effiong is a “fake lawyer.”

This demand follows Effiong’s threat to sue if a retraction and apology are not issued within 14 days for the alleged defamatory remarks made by Umeofia.

The controversy stems from comments Umeofia reportedly made during an October 2, 2023, interview with Television Continental (TVC).

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Umeofia allegedly disparaged Effiong while discussing Erisco Foods Limited’s ongoing legal battle with Chioma Okoli, asserting that Okoli had forsaken her previous legal representation in favour of hiring “a fake lawyer, a charge and bail lawyer to deceive her.”

Effiong, who represents Okoli, interpreted these comments as a direct attack on his credibility and legal practice.

Effiong’s legal counsel, Femi Falana, has issued a pre-action notice to Umeofia and his company, demanding N100 million in damages and a published apology in two national newspapers.

Effiong has made it clear that he expects compliance with these demands within the specified 14-day period or will initiate legal proceedings against Umeofia.

In defense of his credentials and reputation, Effiong outlined his qualifications, stating, “I spent five years in the University and one year in the Nigerian Law School before I was admitted into the Nigerian Bar.”

He further emphasised the potential damage to his decade-long legal career caused by Umeofia’s accusations.

“Chief Eric Umeofia must present his evidence showing that I am a fake lawyer who was out to deceive my client,” Effiong asserted in a post on his X handle. “I want justice.”

Effiong’s challenge to Umeofia is not just a personal quest for vindication but highlights the broader implications of such allegations on professional integrity within the legal community.

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