Metuh’s lawyers apply to withdraw from case over alleged threat to life
Counsel representing former National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, yesterday urged a Federal High Court, Abuja, to allow him withdraw from the case over alleged threat to life.
Metuh is standing trial on a seven-count charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly receiving N400 million from former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
He is also charged with two counts bordering on alleged destruction of confessional statement he made while in custody.
According to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the counsel, Mr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) and Mr. Emeka Etiaba (SAN), filed a motion to withdraw from the matter, citing immense pressure with respect to their appearance in the case as well as severe threat to their lives.
The counsel, who were absent in court yesterday when the matter was called, also cited the order of the court for day-to-day hearing of the matter as reasons for wanting to withdraw from the matter.
Speaking on behalf of his counsel, Metuh told the court that they were absent in court because they had been summoned by an agency of government.
Metuh prayed the court for an adjournment to enable his counsel represent him.
In the application, Metuh’s lawyers had stated that they had been going through immense pressure with respect to their appearance in the case.
In an affidavit in support of the motion on notice, Ikpeazu averred that he had received numerous threats to his life from diverse sources through telephone calls with disguised numbers.
He said the persons calling gave him an ultimatum and threatened to kill him based on the manner they claimed he had been mishandling the case.
Ikpeazu also stated in the affidavit that Etiaba had also informed him that he had received similar threats and thus would no longer proceed with the representation of Metuh.
“In the circumstance, it is impossible to avail Metuh the legal representation he deserves in this case,” he said.
He urged the court to grant their application to withdraw from the case in line with Section 349 (7), (8) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
Tochuckwu Onwugbufor, counsel to the second defendant in the matter, (Metuh’s company), also urged the court to adjourn the matter to allow Metuh’s counsel to be present in court.
The EFCC counsel, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, said that he had just been served with the application and would need time to respond.
“I have gone through the affidavit in support of the motion and serious allegations have been made which will definitely warrant a need for us to file a counter and rebuff all the allegations,” he said.
He urged the court to grant the application for an adjournment to enable the court entertain the application and give its considered decision.
The trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, adjourned the matter till March 13, 2019.