Monday, May 23, 2016 10:07 pm
Justice Okon Abang of Federal High Court, Abuja Division will on Wednesday rule on the application of Chief Olisa Metuh, to be granted leave to travel abroad for medicare.
The National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party wants the court to grant him a five week leave from his ongoing trial to enable him travel to United Kingdom to seek medical attention.
Metuh also asked the court in the application, to also make an order for the release of his passport to enable him travel outside the country for the medical treatment.
Justice Okon Abang had ordered Metuh to deposit his passport with the court’s registrar as part of the bail conditions granted him on 19 January, 2016.
While arguing the application, Onyeachi Ikpeazu, counsel to Metuh said the PDP National Publicity Secretary is suffering from a degeneration of his spinal cord for which he needed to seek urgent treatment outside the country. He attached appropriate medical records, including the MRI scan report attached to the affidavit in support of the application to prove that the defendant has spinal cord problems.
He also dismissed insinuations by the prosecution team that the defendant may not return to Nigeria if he is granted the permission to make the trip.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria said there are avenues and conditions the court can employ to ensure the return of Metuh to Nigeria.
He added that the the defendant can for instance, be asked to deposit his passport with the Nigeria High Commission in London.
The lawyer also said Metuh voluntarily reported himself to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC when he was invited indicated his readiness to undergo trial.
But while opposing the application, Slyvester Tahir, the lead prosecuting counsel said there is no evidence before the court to indicate that the defendant can only get the treatment he required outside the country.
“The quest by the applicant to travel abroad for medical attention is out of preference to travel abroad because there are medical facilities in Nigeria that can treat him.
The medical reports did not raise red flag of any imminent danger,” said Tahir who argued that the medical reports tendered in court by the defendant to support his quest to travel abroad for medical treatment are ineffective and inadequate.
He also pointed out that the court cannot order the defendant to deposit his passport with Nigerian Embassy abroad because this will be outside its jurisdiction.
Later, the Court asked the two counsels to address it on whether it has juridisction to entertain Metuh’s request for the release of his bail, since there was no specific request that it should vary the bail condition in the application.
Ikpeazu told the Court that since the initial order to deposit the passport in the custody of the court was made by the court, the same court can also vary the order.
But Tahir told the court that there must be a specific order praying the court to vary the bail condition it earlier imposed before the request can be entertained.
Meanwhile, the trial of Metuh on the seven count charge of corruption, breach of public trust and money laundering will continue on Tuesday pending the ruling on his request to be allowed to travel abroad for his treatment on Wednesday.