The Federal High Court, Abuja, has expressed doubts as to whether the claim of ill health by Olisah Metuh, the embattled former National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP), is true.
Justice Okon Abang, the trial judge, said on Thursday while delivering a ruling on an application seeking the release of Metuh’s international passport to enable him travel abroad for medical treatment.
According to the judge, “I am wondering, if the defendant is truely sick as he claims, why he not appealed the two earlier decisions of the court that refused to release his international passport.
“I doubt that he is really ill as he wants the court to believe, if he is, he should have appealed the decisions of the court at the Court of Appeal.”
The judge wondered why Metuh appealed decisions of the trial court that had nothing to do with his health but refused to appeal those that dealt directly with his health.
Abang held that it seemed there was a hidden agenda by Metuh to present the court as inhuman by filing the same application before the trial court a third time rather than going on appeal.
He said that he agreed with the arguments of the prosecution that filing the application for a third time was an unpardonable and reckless abuse of judicial processes.
The judge maintained that the defendants ought to know that where a trial court decided a matter, it could not be brought before it again under any guise.
He further said that since the prosecution closed its case in 2016, the defendant, rather than defending his case, had taken several steps to frustrate the trial.
The judge said that he could not sit on appeal over his own judgment having already refused an application for the release of Metuh’s passport twice.
He added that contrary to the claim by Metuh’s counsel, Mr Onyeachi Ikpeazu, (SAN), there were no new facts in the current application as the facts in it were the same as those in the last two applications.
“The issues raised in this application have already been determined in the two previous rulings on the matter; there is nothing new in this application.”
He held that on account of Metuh’s conduct since the prosecution closed its case, he could not order the release of his passport and that he lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter having decided it before.
He therefore dismissed the application for lacking in merit and adjourned the matter until April 20 for continuation of trial.
Metuh on March 14, for the third time, asked the court to release his international passport to enable him travel abroad for medical treatment.
One of his counsel, Mr Emeka Etiaba (SAN), told the court that his client did not appeal the two previous applications which were refused by the court but added that this was a new and different application.
Etiaba had told the court that the new application was premised on the grounds that Metuh had lost sensation in his legs adding that this never happened before.