Reps plead with Malami to allow Metuh seek medical treatment oversea
Reps plead with Malami to allow Metuh seek medical treatment oversea
Reps beg AGF to allow Metuh seek medical treatment abroad
Mr. Olisa Metuh
The House of Representatives on Tuesday intervened in the ongoing trial of a former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Olisa Metuh, over money laundering allegations, begging for some delay to allow him undergo medical care overseas.

In its resolution in Abuja, the House urged the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, to apply to delay Metuh’s court appearances until he had taken care of his health.

The House explained that this was not to stop Metuh’s trial or ask that the court should free him, but that the AGF should ensure that he was alive first and be able to face trial for his alleged offence.

Metuh is currently on bail, but he was brought on a stretcher to appear before an Abuja Federal High Court on Monday after the trial judge ordered his physical appearance.

A member from Anambra State, Mr. Chris Azubougu, had drawn the attention of the House to Metuh’s “pathetic health situation” when he raised a motion of urgent public importance on the floor.

He had stated that Metuh was not physically fit to appear in court and needed immediate medical treatment overseas to regain his health.

Azubougu added, “On February 5, 2018, he appeared in court on a stretcher from the National Hospital on the orders of the court against medical recommendation, considering the grave danger he is going through.

“It is only the living that can answer to charges of criminal offence and Olisa Metuh, a lawyer, will not become a fugitive because of the charges he is facing, if granted a leave to obtain treatment for a given period of time and come back to continue with his trial, since he is already on bail and there is a surety.”

However, the motion did not succeed without some protestations on the floor, as some members kicked against the House interfering with court proceedings.

The original motion sought to ask both the AGF and the federal high court to “grant Metuh access to medical attention overseas until he is fit to continue with his trial.”

But, following the protestations, the motion was amended to delete the court and leave only the AGF, being the chief prosecutor, to apply to give Metuh some time to take care of his health.

Two members, Mr. Orker Jev, and Mr. Bode Ayorinde, vehemently opposed the motion on the grounds that the House was not empowered to halt court proceedings.

“All that Metuh succeeded in doing yesterday (at the court on Monday) was to win public sympathy.

“He has already achieved that purpose. What is this motion hoping to achieve again? What are we intervening to do?” Ayorinde stated.

On his part, Orker reminded the session, which was presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, that the House rules barred the legislature from making such interference so that they would not prejudice the outcome of a matter before a court.

But, the House Deputy Minority Leader, Mr. Chukwuka Onyema, told the session that the idea of the motion was not to stop the trial but to appeal for help in favour of Metuh.

“This is not even saying stop the trial, no. This is like practically begging to save this man’s life.

“He has to be alive to continue to attend the trial and for the case to be determined,” he added.

In the midst of the debate, Dogara called on a member from Plateau State, Mr. Edward Pwajok (SAN), to guide the House.

It was Pwajok who proposed that the motion should be amended by deleting court from it and making a direct appeal to the AGF for help.

The amendment was endorsed in a majority voice vote, following which members unanimously passed a resolution, urging Malami to help Metuh.

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