‘I must try your case’ – Judge tells Metuh

In spite of a petition filed to stop him from presiding over the corruption trial of Olisa Metuh, the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court in Abuja, on Thursday, insisted that he will go on with the trial.

Justice Abang stated that: “I want to say on this that I have a circular by my employer, the National Judicial Council, that where there is a petition in a matter seeking the transfer of the case to another judge, that judge handling the case shall continue to preside over the matter until decision is taken by authority the petition was addressed to.”

“On account of this circular, I shall continue to preside over this matter until the honourable Chief Judge of this court takes a decision on Emeka Etiaba’s petition‎.”

Metuh is on trial for allegedly misappropriating N400 million he was said to have received from the Office of the National Security Adviser in November 2014.

The PDP spokesman’s petition to stop his trial was thrown out by the same court on Thursday morning.

Speaking to the EFCC counsel the judge asked: “Learned counsel for the prosecution and learned counsel for the defence, I want to ask you a question and I want you to respond if you are aware of it or not.”

“Are you aware that after the prosecution had called eight witness cross-examined and re-examined and ruling has been delivered on the no-case submission by the defendants, dismissing the no-case submission, one of the counsel, Mr. Emeka Etiaba (SAN), wrote a petition to the honourable Chief Judge of this court asking for the transfer of this case, principally on the reasons that the court gave ruling in favour of the prosecution and that the court also refused to release the ruling and the records of the proceedings to them, and that the first accused person was my classmate in the law school? I didn’t know the first accussed was my classmate, it was he (Etiaba) that said so. Are you aware of the petition?”

The prosecuting counsel informed the court that he was unaware of the petition.

In his ruling, the Justice Abang said: “This is not the case‎ is not the only case I handle. The court had to suspend every other thing to ensure that the record of proceedings as of March 9 was ready. I had to read and proof read about four times and it has been released to them two days ago.”

The case was adjourned until March 23, when Metuh is expected to open his defense.

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