Court dismisses Metuh’s application to travel
The Federal High Court Sitting in Abuja has dismissed the application filed by the former National Publicity Secretary, People’s Democratic Party ( PDP ), Chief Olisa Metuh, for the return of his International Passport.
Justice Okon Abang, while dismissing the application, held that there was fear that if Metuh was allowed to travel abroad, he may abscond and will not be available to face trial.
Metuh had on May 16, applied to the Court through his Counsel, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), asking it to return his travel document to enable him travel abroad for five weeks to access medication for a spinal cord related ailment.
Justice Abang further in his ruling held that Metuh cannot pretend not to be aware of the existing order of the court on his International Passport.
According to him, Metuh’s application amounted to asking the court to set aside its earlier order, where it requested that the document be submitted as part of the conditions for his bail.
“The first defendant cannot pretend not to know of the existing order. He filed the application as if it is a simple matter. It is not a simple matter”.
“Under the law, the court can only vary the bail condition if the defendant had not complied with the bail condition.
“There cannot be issue of variation when the court has complete bail conditions and the defendant has complied. What he is asking for is that court should set aside its earlier order. Once he has complied with the bail condition, the issue of variation does not arise.This court has no jurisdiction to do so”.
“There is an order of court requesting him to deposit his International Passport. The court is not a Father Christmas to give the first defendant what he did not ask for. I want to remind parties that rulings in court of law is not based on sentiments”, Abang ruled.
He noted that while he was not in a position to question the opinion of the doctor at the National Hospital, Abuja, that issued Metuh the medical report to travel abroad, there was no reasonable evidence from Metuh to prove that no Nigerian hospital was capable of healing him of the spinal cord related illness.
His words: “While I am not in a position to question the position of the doctor but it is my view that there was no evidence from Metuh that no hospital in Nigeria can cure him.
“There is a fear that if the first defendant is allowed to travel, he will abscond and would not be available to face trial.
“We have several teaching hospitals in Nigeria. The court has reasons to believe that there are hospitals in Nigerian that can cure the first defendant.
“Assuming that there was evidence from Metuh that none of the hospitals in the country can heal him, the court would have thought otherwise but he has not provided materials for the court to exercise its powers”.
Justice Abang also discountenanced the medical report issued by the doctor on the ground that it did not qualify as a public document.
“It is not all documents issued by public institutions that qualify as public documents, except it is meant for public use. The medical report issued Metuh was not a public document even though it was issued by a public institution”.
Upholding therefore the argument of the Prosecution Counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, not to grant the application, Justice Abang consequently dismissed Metuh’s application for lacking in merit and on the ground that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the application as there was a subsisting order of the court asking him to deposit such documents with the Court Registrar.