In the last 29 months, Chief Olisa Metuh has faced unprecedented personal travails resulting in severe health, reputation, career, legal and financial setbacks.
Whilst we all have been consoled by his faith in God Almighty and the prayers, encouragement and support of family, friends and associates, we are deeply troubled by two issues.
The first is Chief Metuh’s health which the doctors have in very express terms stated the need for urgent medical care. In fact, one of the doctors at the National Hospital reminded us that had he taken the minor spinal correction prescribed for him in 2008 (10yrs ago) he probably will not be in this near helpless case.
But then, we are not God and therefore could not have seen the future. His faith, even as he lies in serious condition and in hospital, remains in the healing balm of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The second is Chief Metuh’s legal matter where he has been faced with the full wrath of a government in power, partly because it is viewed by the government of the day as the trophy fight against the leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The exposé by Mr. Johnson Ojogbani, Special Assistant to the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, on Channels TV programme on Tuesday 22nd May, explained the reasons behind the desperation, misinformation and draconian tactics happening in his matter. It is our information that the media budget for this case by the EFCC is unprecedented.
For the records, it is not true that Chief Metuh jumped bail. It is also not true that he did not provide any reasonable explanation for his absence in court. It is equally untrue that his counsel, Emeka Etiaba, SAN did not provide any reasonable explanation for his absence.
The truth of the matter is that the very next day after Chief Metuh’s fall, his counsel, Emeka Etiaba SAN duly informed the court in open session that the medical team of the Federal High Court had taken him to the National Hospital for admission. It is pertinent to note that the court permitted the medical team to take him to hospital.
The explanation of Chief Metuh’s whereabouts was further reinforced by a letter from the National Hospital duly annexed as exhibit in an affidavit of facts by his brother and duly filed before the court ruling on Wednesday morning.
On the issue of absence of counsel on Friday, his counsel Emeka Etiaba SAN, had duly filed and registered an affidavit of facts on 23rd May informing the court that he was bereaved and would not be in court on Friday, 25th May 2015 as he was billed to travelling to Nnewi, Anambra state. This affidavit was also served on the prosecutor in the matter.
How can Chief Metuh be accused of feigning an illness he has been managing at the National Hospital, Abuja for the past 14 years? How can he be accused of disobeying an order of court when the Judge’s directive to the registrar to inform him to sit down came only when he saw him struggling with the walker to negotiate into the dock?
How can he be accused of deliberately staging the fall when he knows the severe consequences of such to his health? How can he be accused of turning the court into an accident scene because medical doctors from the court were attending to him?
Did the Judge take the evidence of the Federal High Court doctors who were called in by the court Registrars to attend to him? Did the Judge request from the federal high court doctors the result of their initial assessment including the initial blood pressure and status of his spine?
Indeed, what is the basis and evidence for the hurtful comments by the learned trial Judge? The choice of words used by Justice Abang on Chief Metuh over his illness is saddening and truly worrisome. Will he get true justice in the light of all these?
Yes, Chief Metuh had filed a motion for Justice Abang to recuse himself from the trial on account of the frosty relationship they had right from their call to bar in 1988 to their last encounter at the Le Meridian Hotel, Uyo, Akwa-Ibom state.
However the Judge blatantly denied knowing him, a lie unbecoming of a judicial officer, whilst he ruled against his motion even when he had cited evidence of dates and places.
Chief Metuh has indeed endured a lot of obvious hostility and manifest interference with the prosecution in his case but has endured it all as a believer in the rule of law and ultimately in the belief that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man in a true democracy.
Despite the well funded, syndicated and orchestrated personal fight against him as reference point for fight against the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh’s spirit remains high as he knows he is completely innocent of these charges.
The concept of true justice cannot begin to change as justice should not only be done but should be seen to be done.
Finally, Chief Metuh remains strong in the true understanding that all powers belong only to God.
Ishaya Maji, Personal Assistant to Chief Olisa Metuh sent in this from Abuja