Appeal court rejects Metuh’s bid to travel abroad

The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, has dismissed an appeal filed by a former Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, for the release of his travel documents.

The court said the appeal constituted an abuse of court process having not disclosed verifiable medical reasons for seeking to travel abroad.

Metuh is facing N400m money laundering charge filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The appellate court agreed with the ruling of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which refused to release Metuh’s passport to enable him to travel to a London hospital for a scheduled surgery.

Justice Abdu Aboki said there was no circumstance at stake different from the one stated in the two applications earlier refused by the trial court because “the applicant failed to supply new facts.”

The court held that the letter written by the specialist who recommended Metuh for treatment abroad amounted to a hearsay as he did not physically examine him.

“There is nothing before the court to show that the trial court wrongly evaluated the document. There is no compelling evidence before this court to grant same.

“The trial judge has not demonstrated any bias against the appellant. The appeal is totally un-meritorious and is hereby dismissed,” the court ruled.

In his appeal predicated on 12 grounds, the former PDP spokesman had complained that Justice Abang “manifested obvious bias” against him by failing to exercise his discretion when he dismissed his application.

The appellant further complained that Justice Abang strayed from the application before the court by accusing him of acting a script and using illness to frustrate early conclusion of his trial.

Metuh had on several occasions been on admission in various hospitals in Nigeria over what he called a worsening spinal cord ailment for which doctors had recommended surgery and referred him to the London hospital since 2016.

He had three times approached the trial court for the temporary release of his passport, the third time being on February 23, 2018.

In the notice of appeal of May 14, 2018, Metuh, who averred that his health was fast deteriorating, prayed the appellate court to set aside the ruling of the trial court, and order the temporary release of his passport to enable him to go for the surgery and return to continue with the trial.

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