The Akwa Ibom State Government could still prosecute the lawyer who assaulted his wife recently, despite the woman withdrawing the case against him, a prominent lawyer in the state has said.

Lawyer, Ekere Ebong, was filmed assaulting his wife, Ekemini, at night in front of their residence in Uyo, on 14 December 2023 fuelling outrage by Nigerians on social media who called for his arrest.

In the video of the incident which went viral on social media, the assaulted woman wore only her underwear and had a bloodied face.

In a statement announcing his arrest on 18 December 2023, the police spokesperson in the state, Odiko Macdon, said Mr Ebong “assaulted his wife, dehumanised her, leading to various grievous injuries.”

Macdon, also said the lawyer is a “known habitual perpetrator of violent acts against his wife over the years.”

Mr Ebong was arraigned, but granted bail, the Chairperson of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Uyo Branch, Augustine Umoh, said.

The assaulted wife in a letter dated 20 December 2023 dropped out of the case, saying she does not want her husband prosecuted.

But Umoh confirmed the setting up of a disciplinary committee against Mr Ebong as the practicing lawyer of 17 years made a confessional statement on the assault on his wife.

Lawyers in the state believe that he can still be prosecuted as the wife is only a witness as the crime was against the state.

According to James Ibor, the principal counsel at Basic Rights Counsel Initiative, there are provisions in the Criminal Code and Administration of Criminal Justice System Laws of Akwa Ibom State that make the wife a compellable witness to the extent of validating what happened to her.

Ibor said the assaulted wife is not a complainant but only a witness and her opinion does not count in the prosecution

“And in any case, her invitation may be dispensed with because she’s the wife and the prosecutor may decide not to invite her.” He told Premium Times.

“I’m happy the NBA is involved. NBA is going to deploy every legal mechanism at its disposal to make sure she gets justice whether she likes it or not because it is not justice for her alone; it is justice for the people of Akwa Ibom State, the legal profession, human race and for he her husband, who also has sisters and mother,” Mr Ibor said.

Ibor said her action may not be for love, but because of pressure from the society.

“I know the maternal, paternal families, friends who promote patriarchy and violence against women may be saying to her, ‘Your children will hate you for