By Ese Awhotu
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered a former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Olisa Metuh, to appear in court on February 5 or risk arrest and consequent jail.
Justice Okon Abang gave the order yesterday noting that Metuh had been absent from his trial since Monday without any lawful excuse.
He said Metuh’s absence in court was enough to revoke his bail.
The PDP ex spokesman who has been standing trial occasioned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over allegation N400m fraud has been perpetually absent from the proceedings since Monday, reason being ill health.
Metuh is said to be on admission at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State
His lawyer, Dr. Oneychi Ikpeazu (SAN), had on Tuesday sought an adjournment of the case till next week.
However, EFCC’s lawyer, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, opposed the application for adjournment, saying that the medical report of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital relied upon to ask for the adjournment was a trash meant for the dustbin.
He therefore prayed the court to revoke Metuh’s bail and remand him in prison custody.
Ruling, Justice Abang said the medical report relied on by Metuh to stay away from court was fraudulently smuggled into the court’s file and aimed at forcing the court to stay proceedings in the trial indefinitely.
Justice Abang held that EFCC’s application for the revocation of Metuh’s bail deserved to be granted, but that the court decided to suspend taking such step in order to afford the defendant another opportunity “to turn over a new leaf”.
He ruled that, that Metuh had engaged in different ploys to frustrate the trial and attempts, “to hijack the proceedings” adding that the court would no longer accept any medical report from Metuh.
The judge also ruled that the court would no longer entertain any application for adjournment to enable the defendant to call any witness.
Justice Abang, therefore, directed that all the remaining witnesses Metuh had to call must always be in court for all proceedings.