Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has again, rejected an application filed by former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, to seek medical attention abroad.
The judge had on May 25, 2016 and October 23, 2017 dismissed similar appeals on the ground that Metuh did not need to travel abroad for treatment of his spinal cord related ailment.Ruling on the matter yesterday, the judge held that there was nothing new in the instant application.
“I am wondering, with every sense of responsibility, if the first defendant is really sick to warrant him being brought to court on a stretcher. I have my doubts if the first defendant is actually sick,” Justice Abang said.The court also questioned why he (Metuh) did not challenge the decision of the trial court at the Court of Appeal if he was truly sick and in dire need of medical attention abroad.
“The first defendant ought to have appealed to the Court of Appeal to review whether this court was right or wrong in dismissing the applications for leave to travel abroad for medical treatment.The court was at a loss why Metuh challenged the matter up to the Supreme Court, rather than appealing the order restraining him from travelling abroad for medical treatment.
“The first defendant only appealed cases, which their outcome will not help his health situation,” Justice Abang said.While insisting that it has no jurisdiction to entertain the application the third time, the court reasoned and agreed with the prosecution that the application “is an unpardonable and reckless abuse of judicial process.”
Consequently, Justice Abang declared: “I cannot on account of human sympathy, review my earlier decisions.” On the merit of the application and whether the court could hear it without a medical report, Justice Abang held that before the application would be granted, Metuh was expected to show special circumstances.The court further contended that for Metuh to be able to prove that he needed leave to travel abroad, an expert opinion was needed on part of medicine relating to his ill health.
“It is not the evidence deposed to by Obinna Metuh, the first defendant’s younger brother, or the persuasive arguments by the defence lawyers that can make the court exercise its discretion,” he said.
“What is required for the court to consider is a medical report issued by an expert,” the court added.Metuh, who came to court, with an arm clutch, expressed worries over the manner his trial was being handled and urged his lawyers to remain calm. He stressed that even though he has tendered evidences and has not done anything unlawful since the commencement of his trial, it appeared the court was bent on convicting him by all means.