Alleged N400m fraud: Metuh's health condition forces judge to adjourn suit

By Ameh Ejekwonyilo
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High court in Abuja, was on Monday, compelled to adjourn the trial of ex-National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Olisa Metuh, following Metuh’s ill-health.
At Monday’s proceedings, Metuh was wheeled to the courtroom on a stretcher after been brought to court in an ambulance, belonging to the National Hospital Abuja.
In the course of the proceedings, Metuh laid motionless on the stretcher as his body was covered with a white clothe.
Metuh and his firm are being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over alleged money laundering charges of N400 million.
His appearance in court was sequel to an order made by Justice Abang on January 25, wherein he ordered Metuh to appear in court on Monday.
Justice Abang had ordered the “ailing” Metuh to appear in court on February 5 or be arrested and sent to prison.
However, at a resumed sitting on Monday, Metuh’s ill-health compelled the court to exercise restraint and adjourned the suit till March 14, 15 and 16.
Ruling after the prosecution counsel, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, and Metuh’s counsel Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), had made submissions, the court held that it was minded to grant an adjournment.
Justice Abang accepted the plea of Ikpeazu that the trial be adjourned for one month.
“The 1st defendant is in court, but his counsel informed court that he is indisposed to continue trial, and therefore pleaded for one month adjournment.
The court also noted that the prosecution counsel did not oppose the oral application of Ikpeazu that the matter be adjourned to a period of one month.
“I have considered the application of counsel to the 1st defendant, and the response of the prosecution counsel.
“I must say that the court of law must be firm, and fair to all parties.
“Court of law must also be humane”.
“On account of condition of Metuh (1st defendant) that I have seen this morning in courtroom, I am inclined to grant an adjournment to enable the 1st defendant attend to his medical needs.
Consequently, this trial, God’s willing, has been adjourned to 14,15, and 16 March 2018 for continuation of trial,” the court said.

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