The National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh, has through his lawyers asked the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, to withdraw his trial from Justice Okon Abang and re-assign it to another judge.
Justice Abang disclosed this on Thursday while writing a bench ruling on an application for adjournment by one of the defence counsel, Mr. Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) to enable Metuh to open his defence on another date.
After entertaining submissions on the application for adjournment and midway into the writing of his ruling, Justice Abang, while reading from his record, asked Adedipe and the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, to respond to the petition written against him by another lawyer in the defence team.
He said, “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 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 on interlocutory ruling that would prejudice the defene, 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?”
In response, EFCC’s prosecuting counsel, Tahir, said he was not aware of it.
He said, “Speaking for the prosecution my lord, I categorically state without any equivocation that until this hour and minute, I am not aware that such petition has been written by one of the counsel for the defendants.”
On his part, Adedipe said, “Any letter written by any member of the defence counsel is a decision of the defence team.