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Updat­ed: Pan­ic as ex-PDP spokesman, Metuh col­laps­es in court

ABUJA – There was pan­de­mo­ni­um at the Fed­er­al High Court in Abu­ja this morn­ing, as for­mer Nation­al Pub­lic­i­ty Sec­re­tary of the Peo­ples Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, PDP, Chief OlisaMetuh, fell down and col­lapsed while on his way to the dock for con­tin­u­a­tion of his tri­al.

As at the time of fil­ing this report, Metuh is still on the floor, even as tri­al Jus­tice Okon Abang insist­ed on pro­ceed­ing with his tri­al despite the con­di­tion of the defen­dant.

Angered by the deci­sion of the Judge, Metuh’s team of lawyers led by Mr. Eme­ka Etia­ba, SAN, pulled out of the case.

Etia­ba said he could not con­tin­ue with the mat­ter with his client lying life­less on the floor with no attempt to resus­ci­tate him since the court was in ses­sion.

The for­mer PDP spokesman who is defend­ing a sev­en-count charge the Eco­nom­ic and Finan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion, EFCC, pre­ferred against him and his firm, Destra Invest­ment Lim­it­ed, dropped on the floor short­ly after his case was called up.

Tri­al Jus­tice Abang there­after asked offi­cials of the court to explain what hap­pened to him.

The three offi­cials, nar­rat­ed that Metuh who was head­ing to the dock, sud­den­ly land­ed on the floor while his aide was attempt­ing to draw his atten­tion to direc­tive by the court that he should remain where he was seat­ed.

Metuh’s lawyer, Etia­ba, SAN, while announc­ing his with­draw­al, said his client was obvi­ous­ly ill as con­firmed by med­ical per­son­nel of the high court.

Etia­ba decried that though Jus­tice Abang refused to put him on record, he said the whole world was watch­ing.

Not per­turbed by Etiaba’s sub­mis­sions and with­draw­al, Jus­tice Abang ordered the defen­dant to pro­duce his eleventh wit­ness.

Already, Metuh has gone before the Court of Appeal in Abu­ja to chal­lenge refusal of the tri­al Judge to allow him to trav­el abroad for med­ical treat­ment.

Metuh who is fac­ing tri­al over alle­ga­tion that he had through his firm, received N400million pri­or to the 2015 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, had on March 14, applied to be allowed to seek med­ical atten­tion in the Unit­ed King­dom, lament­ing that he has lost sen­sa­tion in his low­er limbs.

Metuh said he was suf­fer­ing from spinal cord relat­ed ail­ment.

His lawyer told the court that Metuh’s health had dete­ri­o­rat­ed bad­ly, a sit­u­a­tion he said would require urgent med­ical atten­tion from his doc­tors in Lon­don.

He ten­dered as an exhib­it, a let­ter from one Dr. Adri­an T. H. Kasey, a Neu­ro­sur­geon at Welling­ton Hos­pi­tal in Lon­don, which he said empha­sized the need for Metuh to be treat­ed urgent­ly.

The for­mer PDP spokesman pred­i­cat­ed his appli­ca­tion on sec­tion 33(5) and 6(b) of the 1999 Con­sti­tu­tion.

How­ev­er, tri­al Jus­tice Okon Abang turned down the request, insist­ing that the for­mer PDP spokesman failed to per­suade the court that he was indeed suf­fer­ing from a life-threat­en­ing ail­ment as he claimed.

Besides, Jus­tice Abang accused Metuh of delib­er­ate­ly frus­trat­ing his tri­al with the same appli­ca­tion the court had refused three times.

He said the tri­al court had become func­tus-offi­cio to grant such request to the defen­dant who he said had yet to appeal pre­vi­ous rul­ings that were deliv­ered against him on the same sub­ject mat­ter.

The court fur­ther barred Metuh from ten­der­ing any med­ical report before it, pend­ing the con­clu­sion of his tri­al.

EFCC alleged that Metuh received the N400m from the Office of the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advis­er, ONSA, with­out exe­cut­ing any con­tract.

The agency alleged that the fund was elec­tron­i­cal­ly wired from an account that ONSA oper­at­ed with the Cen­tral Bank of Nige­ria, CBN, to Metuh, via account no. 0040437573, which his firm oper­at­ed with Dia­mond Bank Plc.

It told the court that the fund which was released to Metuh and his firm by detained for­mer NSA, Col. Sam­bo Dasu­ki, retd,‎ ‎was part of about $2.1billion ear­marked for the pur­chase of arms to fight insur­gency in the North East.

Besides, the pros­e­cu­tion which had ear­li­er closed its case after it called eight wit­ness­es that test­fied before the court, equal­ly alleged that Metuh was involved in an illic­it trans­ac­tion that involved the exchange of $2million.

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