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Court adjourns hearing after Metuh arrives in a stretcher
Justice Okon Abang has adjourned the trial of Olisa Metuh, former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), after the accused person was brought to court in an ambulance and stretchered into the court room.
Metuh is standing trial over allegations that he received N400 million from Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser (NSA), and also for money laundering charges to the tune of $2 billion.
Metuh had to be in court on Monday as the presiding judge had threatened to revoke his bail if he failed to attend the day’s hearing on the pretence of illness.
But on seeing Metuh on stretchers, Justice Abang had no choice but to adjourn the case till March 15.
“I have seen the condition that the first defendant is. Seeing the condition, I am inclined to adjourn this matter to allow the first defendant attend his trial,” he ruled.
Private guards were hired to prevent journalists from taking pictures of Metuh on the stretcher.
During the last hearing, Justice Abang cautioned Onyechi Ikpeazu, Metuh’s counsel, over “the delay tactics” being employed by the defence team in order to frustrate the proceedings.
Ikpeazu had told the court that his client was hospitalised at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital in Nnewi, Anambra State with a disease that had affected his spinal cord, but Justice Abang would have none of it.
Describing Metuh’s medical report as “a useless paper meant for a trash bin”, Abang said that “the person who submitted that letter must be known to the court, in this instant case, he is unknown”.
“The court of law cannot rely on a public document tendered by a none party in a suit. It has no charge number and violated the three ways by which a public document can be submitted before a court,” Abang said.
“This court shall henceforth not accept any other medical report issued by any medical doctor in Nigeria until the trial is concluded.
“I hereby suspend my decision revoking the bail. It is expected that the defendant will turn a new leaf, show compulsion and attend his trial on February 5 and 6.
“If he fails to appear in court on these dates fixed for continuation of his trial, his bail shall be revoked and he will be remanded in prison custody.”