The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Lagos State has appealed to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, to look into the continuous refusal of the Federal High Court in Abuja to grant Chief Olisa Metuh permission to travel abroad for medical treatment.
Mr. Metuh, who is the erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, is standing trial before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja for alleged unlawful receipt of N400 million from the Office of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
Metuh and his company, Destra Investment Limited, were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, before the court on seven count charges.
In the course of his trial, the former PDP spokesperson suffered a spinal cord injury he claimed required urgent surgery abroad but could not travel due to the fact that his passport was surrendered to the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court as part of his bail conditions.
An application filed by his lawyer, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) seeking the court’s permission to allow Metuh travel abroad for treatment, was last week denied by Justice Abang.
Reacting to the denial of his application, the Lagos PDP said in the spirit of democracy and freedom, Metuh should be allowed to enjoy his fundamental human rights.
Appealing to the CJN in a statement issued on Sunday by its spokesperson, Gani Taofik, the party asked Justice Mohammed to give his opinion on the denial of the request by Metuh.
It said in view of Metuh’s family ties to the country, he would not be a flight risk.
The PDP said, “We ask the state not to take the ordinary prosecution to be a persecution as the whole efforts would be defeated if, God forbid, the defendant becomes permanently incapacitated due to lack of medical care for his peculiar ailments.
“He (Metuh) has survived several attacks and we think that this prosecution should not turn into persecution. We are of the belief that it is not the wish of the judicial system that a defendant dies or is permanently incapacitated during trial in circumstances that are ordinarily avoidable. Olisa Metuh is a lawyer and is aware of the implication of jumping bail. He is not likely to jump bail. We appeal that justice should be tempered with mercy as this is very appropriate in this circumstance.
“For the Federal Government not to kill the opposition, this (May 29) celebration is an auspicious moment to allow Metuh enjoy medical care in any place of his choice. This is a strong appeal to the conscience of the trial judge, the prosecutor and, indeed, the Chief justice of Nigeria to have a second consideration for the full bail of Chief Metuh, who is obviously very ill and unable to continue the rigours of the trials”.