Metuh faces fresh trial over alleged destruction of evidence

Metuh at the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja…yesterday PHOTO:LADIDI LUCY ELUKPO
Metuh at the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja…yesterday PHOTO:LADIDI LUCY ELUKPO
Returned to Kuje Prison • PDP govs lament detention
THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, at a Federal High Court in Abuja for allegedly destroying the confessional statement he made to the commission.
Metuh was though taken to the court by EFCC operatives in handcuffs, the handcuffs were removed before he appeared before Justice Ishaq Bello. The politician was served a fresh two-count charge of destruction of confessional statement and mischief to which he pleaded not guilty.
One of the allegations is that Metuh, in January 2016, while in the custody of the EFCC attempted to destroy evidence to prevent its production in court during trial, contrary to Section 1 of the Penal Code. It was also alleged that Metuh, with intent to cause damage to the property of the EFCC tore into pieces statement he made under caution, contrary to section 326 of the Penal Code and punishable under Section 327 of the same code”.
Counsel to the EFCC, Sylvanus Diri informed the court that the charges, filed on January 18, 2016, against Metuh were not the same as those currently being heard at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
After Metuh pleaded not guilty to the charges, counsel to the EFCC, asked the court for time to allow his team present witnesses and evidence in support of the allegations preferred against Metuh.
The trial Judge, Justice Ishaq Bello, who is also the Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, said the EFCC must produce three witnesses at the next adjourned date.
There was a mild drama ensued when the Chief Judge questioned the rationale behind separate arraignment of the defendant on the same issue. Justice Ishaq Bello said that since the alleged attempt to destroy evidence flowed directly from the case already filed against Metuh at the Federal High Court, it would have been proper and reasonable to accommodate the new charge in the pending one.
But the prosecution counsel, Sylvester Tahir, replied that the fresh charge was on a Penal Code.
In view of the fresh charge, the court directed that Metuh should be kept in Kuje Prison, where had earlier been in detention.
The court adjourned the matter till January 25, 2016, for hearing of an application for bail.
Meanwhile, ‎the PDP Governors’ Forum has described as unfortunate the handcuffing of Metuh, alleging that the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration was a step away from full blown fascism.
The Forum said the action was meant to deride not only Metuh but the PDP as well as cast the party in bad light before Nigerians as a party of corrupt individuals even when they were yet to be convicted by any competent court.
In a statement yesterday in Abuja by the Forum’s Coordinator, Earl Osaro Onaiwu, the governors said the APC regime was yet to learn from history, pointing out that the antics of subjecting accused persons like Metuh to inhuman treatment was an invitation to fascism.

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