Ex-PDP spokesman’s health critical, can’t speak or recognise guests
Alex Enumah in Abuja and David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to revoke the bail granted the former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh.
Metuh and his company, Dextra Nigeria Limited, are being prosecuted by the EFCC on a seven-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust and corruption as well as for money laundering offences.
They were alleged to have received the sum of N400 million from former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd), during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Counsel to the EFCC, Sylvanus Tahir, who made the request following Metuh’s absence in court for the second day of trial, also urged the court to commit Metuh to prison custody until the conclusion of the criminal charge preferred against him by the federal government.
At the resumed trial yesterday, Counsel to Metuh, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), in an oral application, prayed the court to vacate the days left in the week that were earlier slated for the trial, and to adjourn the matter to a date that will be convenient to the court, owing to the absence of Metuh for the second day running due to his health condition.
Ikpeazu, while supporting his oral application, drew the court’s attention to the letter written to the court by Dr. Ekwuogwu O. C, of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, explaining Metuh’s health condition, and that he is on admission at the hospital.
He said Ekwuogwu’s letter which is an official document and dated January 21, 2018, is already in the record of the court, and urged the court to grant his application.
Counsel to the EFCC, however, opposed to the oral application by Ikpeazu, stressing that the letter from the hospital has no reference to the pending suit before the court.
Tahir, therefore, asked the trial judge to revoke the bail it earlier granted Metuh, adding that “in view of the fact that the first defendant has been absent from court on Monday and Tuesday for inexplicable reason, he has taken steps which undermines or jeopardises the objectives and purpose of the bail granted him by the court.”
Tahir said the application for the revocation of Metuh’s bail is pursuant to Sections 173 (b) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) and Section 169 of the same Act.
In his response, Ikpeazu said the court has taken judicial notice that the letter came from the NAUTH and signed by Dr. Ekwuogwu O. C, adding that by virtue of Section 102 of the Evidence Act, the said letter is a public document that emanated from a government body.
Justice Abang, after listening to submissions of the parties, adjourned the matter till today to hear arguments on the oral application of Metuh’s counsel and that of the prosecution counsel, seeking the revocation of Metuh’s bail.
Meanwhile, it has gathered that Metuh is lying critically ill at NAUTH).
Metuh was said to have been rushed to the hospital last Saturday after tension heightened about his health.
A family source said the former PDP spokesman was admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of NAUTH after he was rushed from Awka in ambulance following a sudden breakdown.
The source told THISDAY that Metuh’s health has gone so bad that he cannot speak or even recognise his visitors.
The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of NAUTH, Prof. Anthony Igwegbe, who earlier confirmed Metuh’s admission to visiting journalists in the hospital, declined to speak on his health situation.
But a member of Metuh’s family who spoke with journalists, Mr. Luke Metuh, expressed worries over his deteriorating state of health. He appealed that he be made to access appropriate medical service.
He disclosed that the former PDP image maker came to Nnewi last Thursday to attend a burial of an in-law, and had after that gone to Umuahia before returning for a family meeting.
He further said: “After the meeting, he decided to go and sleep in Awka to make it easier for him to meet up with his return to Abuja on Saturday. I was surprised when I was called about 8.30a.m. that they were rushing him to NAUTH and I rushed to the hospital and about 20 minutes after they brought him in, in an ambulance.
“The doctor taking care of him has already referred him to UNTH, Enugu for further investigation and possible surgery but is waiting for him to be stable before the movement in order not to aggravate the situation.
“What we are appealing for is that he should be allowed to access the best of medical services.”
He said his brother has been in and out of hospital admission every month since 2016.
He said: “He has had spinal cord related ailment which made him go about with waist brace for 15 years but it has deteriorated since he was held in custody and no longer get routine medical attention.”
Metuh could not appear for his ongoing trial at an Abuja High Court on Monday, January, 22 on health grounds and there were expression of doubts if he was actually hospitalised.