By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Chief Olisa Metuh, the former spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said he has directed his lawyers to review the implications of including his name in Federal Government’s list of looters.
Metuh in a statement issued on Saturday in Abuja said he had also asked his lawyer to take appropriate steps for redress.
The former National Publicity Secretary of PDP, said he was reacting to the recent release of names of ‘looters’ by the All Progressives Congress led-Federal Government through the Minister of information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
Metuh said that by the publication, the Federal Government had breached Nigeria’s Constitution by seeking to burden him with two criminal trials on the same charge, “one before Justice Okon Abang and the other before the media.
“In response to the scandalous publication, I wish to state as follows :
“Since my arrest on January 5, 2016 and subsequent arraignment, I have refrained from publicly discussing my persecution and travails by the government.
“This is because as a lawyer, trained in the finest traditions of the Bar, I know that it is wrong to discuss a matter that is subjudice.
“However the present action of the government leaves me no option than to defend my name and integrity.
“I have therefore decided to avail the public of the true state of the contrived case against me.
“The charge against me is that I received the sum of N400 million from the Office of the National Security Adviser to carry out duties assigned to me as the then spokesman of the PDP by then President.
Metuh added that the major crux of the prosecution argument was that he ought to have known that the money was a part of an alleged and yet to be proven unlawful activity of Col Sambo Dasuki(rtd), former NSA to President Jonathan.
He said that the charge was brought regardless of the fact that neither Jonathan, who directed the release of the funds, nor Dasuki, who effected the release had ever been interrogated nor even interviewed in this regard.
He added that as a matter of fact, officers of the office of NSA had testified in court that the payment made to him followed all due process usually observed in the establishment.
“It is of interest to note that the prosecution has not alleged any collusion on my part other than the suggestion that I ‘ought to have known’ of an alleged unlawful activity.
“Also the alleged illegality of the funds has neither been established in law nor in fact.
“I have NEVER held a government office and/or position and could not therefore have had any access to government funds.”
Metuh said that in view of the “weakness of the case against” him, the APC led Federal Government resorted to all kinds of tactics to dehumanise and intimidate him.
He said that the party had done everything humanly possible to ensure complete persecution starting from bringing him to court in handcuffs.
He said that he was also paraded as the capture of Nigeria’s most wanted to media trials and “constant interference with my case.
I have been reliably informed that the Federal Government has ordered a conviction at all cost to ensure that the PDP is tainted before the elections.
“The government’s determination to achieve this objective is clearly highlighted by the refusal to allow me attend to my deteriorating health notwithstanding several expert medical opinion on the matter.”
He condemned the going to the media to name him as a looter without cross-checking the definition and dictionary meaning of the word.
He said that going by that action the Federal Government had not only given a body language but has issued a direct intimidation and threat to the judiciary to get a compulsory conviction.