A federal high court in Abuja has rejected an application for leave to travel abroad for medical treatment filed by Olisa Metuh, former spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Okon Abang, a judge, held that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the application because there was a subsisting order directing Metuh to deposit his international passport with the chief registrar of the high court.
He explained that the order had not been set aside, hence the court would not grant the defendant’s request.
He stated that one of the requirements for Metuh’s bail was the depositing of his international passport at the court, but added that the defendant did not apply to vary the bail conditions.
“This is not a case of sympathy, but a case of law. This court has no jurisdiction to entertain this application,” he held.
“The court is not Father Christmas to give to the defendant what it did not ask for.
“The application lacks merit. It is accordingly dismissed. The court cannot set aside its decision.”
Abang dismissed Metuh’s argument that no hospital in Nigeria could treatment his ailment for lack of evidence.
He also rejected an affidavit -stating the medical condition of Metuh- filed on May 23 because it was not deposed to by a commissioner for oath.
He said the defendant could go to the appeal court for judicial review, and added that the trial had reached advance stage.
On Monday, Abang fixed the date for ruling after listening to the arguments of Onyechi Ikpeazu, counsel to Metuh; the defence, and Sylvanus Tahir, counsel to the federal government; the prosecution.
Making his submission, Ikpeazu had said his client needed urgent medical treatment abroad, and that the ailment from which he was suffering could not be treated in the country.
He prayed the court to grant Metuh five-week leave to travel to the United Kingdom for the treatment.
He also asked the court to release the international passport of his client.
But Tahir objected to the submission of Metuh’s lawyer.
He argued argued that the ailment which the former PDP spokesman was suffering from could be treated in Nigeria.
He, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the application.
Abang, thereafter, adjourned ruling on the application to Wednesday – when he rejected the application.
Last Thursday, Metuh’s trial was stalled after he puked on the premises of the court.
He was later taken to the national hospital where he had been admitted for a neurosurgical ailment.
He is facing a seven-count of criminal breach of trust and money laundering to the tune of N400m.
The charge was brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).