Metuh’s trial outcome of role as opposition spokesman, says witness
The first defence witness in the trial of National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, yesterday testified that Metuh’s arrest was occasioned by his new role as opposition spokesman.
A publicity consultant to the political party, Ike Abonyi, told the Abuja Federal High Court presided over by Justice Okon Abang that Metuh had opted for resignation shortly after the defeat of the PDP in last year’s general elections but was persuaded to rescind the move in the interest of the party.
He added that people’s apprehension about Metuh’s safety grew on realisation that he was becoming a mere party bigot.
“The committee members started having fear that Metuh’s new role as opposition spokesperson could be dangerous. But he told us that even the ruling government may not do well if they fail to have a robust opposition.
“We agreed with him because our knowledge of democracy all over the world was that without a vibrant opposition, the government in power will not achieve much,” Abonyi stated.
According to him, “a lot of us believed that he would get into trouble because even before he got arrested on January 5, there has been a lot of apprehension about him.
“Metuh had preempted his arrest in a press conference with some journalists. He continued with his publicity activities but not in the same level and speed, especially during his incarceration.”
At the resumed hearing yesterday, Metuh’s counsel, Tochukwu Onwubufo (SAN) drew attention of the court to an application he filed on April 13 where he challenged the court’s jurisdiction to entertain counts one and two of the instance charge.
He, therefore, asked the court to hear the issue first.
But the prosecution counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, objected.
Having listened to arguments from both sides, Justice Abang, ruled that the application can only be considered alongside the substantive issue and shall be resolved at the end of proceedings when judgment would be given.
Consequently, the matter was adjourned till April 27 for continuation of hearing.
Metuh is standing trial for allegedly receiving N400 million from former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
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