Justice Okon Abang of the federal high court in Abuja ruled on Wednesday that Olisa Metuh, the spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), must perfect the conditions of bail for him to be released from prison. He said that if Metuh was not satisfied with the conditions, he had an option to appeal it in a higher court.
However, the judge varied the bail condition for Metuh on one out of the six grounds brought by the defence team. Justice Abang varied the condition requiring the accused person to have two sureties who must have landed property in Maitama, Abuja. He held that the scope of ownership of property for the sureties was now expanded to include all parts of the federal capital territory, Abuja, and not just at Maitama.
Emeka Etiaba (SAN), who held brief in court on Wednesday in the absence of Metuh’s lead counsel, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), had prayed the court to vary the conditions of Metuh’s bail on six grounds. The EFCC counsel, Tahir Sylvanus, however opposed the application, prompting Metuh’s lawyer to argue that the defence counsel had no right to oppose the application since he did not file a counter-affidavit. Etiaba asked the court to exercise its discretion and vary the conditions of the accused person’s bail.
In his ruling, Justice Abang held that “The court cannot be expected to sit on appeal over its decision.” He advised the accused person to go on appeal against the ruling of the court if he was not satisfied with it as the court will not overrule its own judgement. However, he varied the condition on the two sureties owning landed property in Maitama, extending it to cover the whole of the FCT.
Earlier, the judge rejected the plea by the defence for the trial to be adjourned because of the absence of the lead defence counsel, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN). He said that he was working with a time-frame and asked the other counsel, Emeka Etiaba (SAN) to stand in his stead.