By Emmanuel Aziken
Erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh has alleged a contrivance by operatives of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC to punish him by intimidating doctors open to render medical attention to his failing health.
Metuh in a statement alleged that besides intimidating Nigerian doctors attending to his health, that operatives of the ruling party have also taken the campaign against him to a United Kingdom hospital to which a letter was addressed depicting him as an enemy of Nigeria.
While noting the continued denial of his passport for medical attention abroad and the corresponding liberty given to others facing similar charges to undertake pilgrimages and other ventures abroad, Metuh deposed that it was now clear that his case had turned into a media trial for offences committed in the defence of his party.
Metuh who served as spokesman of the former ruling party is facing trial for allegedly receiving N400 million from the office of the National Security Adviser, money, he claims was released to him on the instruction of former President Goodluck Jonathan for party affairs.
In the statement issued on his behalf by his lawyer, Barr. Benchuks Nwosu, yesterday, the former PDP spokesman who claimed he has now been bedridden for the past two months said:
“We have instances and evidence of these APC controlled agents and agencies directly interfering with the various hospitals that have admitted Chief Metuh in the last two months but the latest is the letter written by APC to the Wellington hospital, London, U.K, depicting our client as an enemy of the Nigerian state and one that should not even access to medical treatment abroad.
“The clear fact, as evidenced by his MRI report, is that Chief Olisa Metuh has severe spondylosis with disc herniations, cord and nerve root compressions in his Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbosacral spine. This has resulted in semi-paralysis and we have even gone further in open Court to request that the prosecution be allowed to conduct their own independent clinical examination of the person involved.
“Our Client has not left the confines of a hospital or his own bedroom for the past 2 months except to attend Court proceedings. He spent several hours in Court on the 14th of March, 2018 and had to be taken straight to hospital to be sedated with pentadine injection and other strong pain killers. In order to be present in Court on subsequent days (15th and 16th of March 2018) he also had to take the strong pain killer injections early morning before the sittings. This however, resulted in our Client being semi-drowsy on the 15th and 16th and was clearly unable to even observe or follow the proceedings in open Court.
“In any case, are these people not aware that it is only in Chief Olisa Metuh’s matter that the issue of release of passport for an accused person has been such an impossibility?
“Just last week, a Court released the passport of an accused person being prosecuted by the same EFCC to enable him attend a conference abroad. Others have been allowed to go for medical check- up abroad and even for pilgrimage. The same Court had also granted some other accused persons facing charges the same indulgence being denied Chief Olisa Metuh.
“We believe strongly that these media trials are geared towards convincing the public that a man whose charge is that he “reasonably ought to have known” that the money given to him was part of an unlawful activity of another individual who has not even been questioned, investigated or charged is already guilty and convicted even before he has given his evidence in the matter.
“Our Client, Chief Olisa Metuh has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has been making his case on his innocence. He has applied the highest level of comportment in showing his respect for our legal system. His only worry remains his plea to be allowed to have a definitive treatment of his worsening ailment. He has suffered humiliation and pain simply by being obedient to court orders.
“The fight against corruption does not imply persecution, manifest wickedness and lynch mob approach to particular individuals.”