Court Rejects Metuh’s Application To Release Passport For Foreign Medical Trip

Olisa-Metuh-courtJustice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday dismissed the application filed by the ex-spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, asking him to release his passport to enable seek foreign medical treatment.
The trial judge held that he lacked the jurisdiction to order the release of Mr. Metuh’s passport, saying that the application for its release should not have come to his court in the first place.
The former PDP spokesman had on Monday said he needed to travel abroad in order to undergo a spinal cord surgery.
However, the proposed medical trip to the United Kingdom for five weeks was hampered as Mr. Metuh’s passport was surrendered to the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court as part of the bail conditions in his trial for alleged unlawful receipt of N400million from the Office of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
The PDP chieftain and his company, Destra Investment Limited, were accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, of allegedly receiving the money for contracts not executed. He also stands accused of engaging in money laundering to the tune of $2million.

He has denied all the charges leveled against him and his company by the EFCC.

Delivering judgment on the application by Metuh’s counsel, Onyeachi Ikpeazu, asking the court to permit the release of the PDP chieftain’s passport so that if the first application is granted, he (Mr. Metuh) would be able to travel for the proposed treatment of his ailing spinal cord, Mr. Abang, said the court cannot set aside its decision to hold onto the defendant’s travel document.
He noted that the decision was made with regards to the nature of Mr. Metuh’s trial, adding that the present condition of the defendant should not be a reason for the law to be compromised.
“Proceedings in a court of law is not based on sentiments”, the judge said.
“The court cannot set aside its decision. I have no jurisdiction to do so”.
Mr. Abang added that since the court cannot grant Mr. Metuh his second prayer, there would be no need to consider the application for Mr. Metuh’s trip abroad.
“Having dismissed prayer two, it is not important to discuss the merits of prayer one,” Justice Abang said.
“Discussing prayer one amounts to an academic exercise”.
The judge also expressed concern that the medical report by Mr. Metuh’s doctor, Ugwanyi Ugochukwu, did not include any reason why the defendant cannot have his treatment done in Nigeria.
Although Mr. Abang noted that he would not argue with the medical doctor over the said report, he would also not agree that Metuh could not be treated in Nigeria if the applicant does not provide such evidence before the court.
“There is no evidence brought forth by Mr. Metuh that none of the teaching hospitals in Nigeria can treat him of his sickness.
“We have so many teaching hospitals here that can treat such illness”, Mr. Abang said.
The judge said the court must also take cognizance of the rights of the prosecution before arriving at any decision.
“The prosecution has expressed fear that he will disappear. In a case like this; the court must be extremely careful. It must balance the competing rights of the defence, and that of the prosecution, before making its decision”, Mr. Abang held.

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