Metuh: Court summons reporters over alleged prejudicial comments


JUSTICE Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday summoned the General Manager of the Channels Television, Abuja and the anchorman of the Sunrise daily programme of the station, Moukpe Oguns Yusuf to appear in court tomorrow to show cause why they should not be ordered to produce in court, the master tape of the Sunrise daily programme of May 22, 2018. The order of the court followed an oral application by Sylvanus Tahir, counsel to the Federal Government in the ongoing trial of the former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh in the N400 million money laundering charge preferred against him by the Federal Government.

Tahir had, on Monday told the court that a counsel Metuh’s legal team, Ben Chuks Nwosu, who was among the panel of discussants in the morning Sunrise daily programme allegedly made some prejudicial comments that border on Metuh’s case before the court.

Tahir applied orally for an order on the duo to make available to the court the video recording of the programme which featured Nwosu, allegedly making comments on a case pending before the court.

Justice Abang also ordered that the enrol order be served personally on the Channels’ GM and the presenter of the Sunrise daily programme of the station, Moukpe Oguns Yusuf before the close of work on Wednesday.

Where personal service became difficult, the court held that the enrol order can be pasted on the gate or entrance to the television station and should be snapped with the building, and affidavit of service be filed before the court.

Also in the ruling, Justice Abang turned down an application by Metuh’s counsel, Emeka Etiaba (SAN) that the court should suspend the trial until Metuh recuperates enough to appear in court to face his trial and ordered that the trial of the former PDP spokesman can go on in his absence.

Metuh fell down on Monday as he was making his way to the dock when his case was called and was said to be rushed to the National Hospital in Abuja in the Ambulance of the Federal High Court, as advised by the medical doctor from the court.

The former PDP spokesman, who was absent in court on Tuesday and yesterday was said to be on admission at the Intensive Care Unit of the National Hospital, Abuja where he is currently being treated of the spinal chord injuries he is suffering from.

But, Justice Abang said Metuh did not collapse but decide to fall down on his own after violating a lawful directive of the court to remain where he was seated beside the dock, where he had sat for about five times during proceedings.

Abang said, “When the 1st defendant ignored the humane directive of the court to seat where he was seated outside the dock and fell down on his own, the court rose for few minutes and after it reconvened, it found out that a medical doctor from the court, Dr Andora Ikpeazor attended to the 1st defendant and advised that he should be taken to the hospital.

“When he fell, the people around him, who aided him to the court did not make any attempt to raise him up and he was on the floor, groaning and whispering loudly, thereby disturbing the proceedings of the court.

This amounts to misconduct by the defendant”, he said.

Justice Abang said the court did not invite the doctor to attend to Metuh and has no right to give any medical opinion that Metuh should be taken to the hospital.

“A doctor cannot attend to a defendant during the proceeding, without the permission of the court.

I agreed with the prosecution counsel, that what is playing out as regard to Metuh’s absence in court without any explanation, amounts to disregard to the authority of the court and the judiciary”.

He said Metuh has jumped bail by absenting from the court on May 22 and 23, 2018 and that proceeding with the trial without his presence will not deny him the fair hearing, adding that Metuh’s attitude constitutes an act to scuttle or frustrate the trial.

Justice Abang adjourned till today for the continuation of the trial, even in the absence of Metuh, who is standing trial along with his company, Destra Investments Limited for allegedly receiving the sum of N400 million from the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col Sambo Mohammed Dasuki (rtd)

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Samson Gbenga Salau [Editorial Board Adviser] Gbenga Samuel Salau is a professional journalist with over 17 years experience in journalism, he is a graduate of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan. On completion of his youth service, he joined The Guardian as a freelance journalist and was later absorbed as a staff. While in the University, he was a campus journalist reporting for the Independence Hall and Faculty of Arts Press Clubs. As a campus journalist, he won the following awards; Independence Hall Press Best News writer; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best News Reporter/Writer; First Runner-up, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism; Association of Faculty of Arts Students’ Press Best Reporter; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Political Writer; Winner, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism, and University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Interviewer. He served the Association of Communication and Language Arts Students, as the Public Relation Officer, the same year he was appointed the News Editor of the Association of Faculty of Arts Students Press. The following session, he was made the General Editor, and a member of the 13-man University of Ibadan Students’ Union Transition Committee. As a reporter in The Guardian, in 2014, he won the Promasidor Quill Award Best Report on Nutrition and DAME Business Reporting category. In the 2015 edition of the Promasidor Quill Award, he won the best Report on Nutrition and Brand Advocate Categories, while in 2016, he won the NMMA Print Journalist of the Year, first runner-up Golden Pen Reporter of the Year and SERAs CSR Awards. Gbenga Salau loves traveling, reading, and listening to songs with good lyrics no matter the genre.