Barely a week after he requested the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to transfer his trial to another judge, spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh has asked Justice Okon Abang to withdraw from his case.
Metuh’s fresh request is contained in an application he filed asking the judge to disqualify himself from further presiding over his trial.
Metuh is being tried before the court with his company, Dextra Investment Limited on a 7-count charge of money laundering, among others.
The prosecution concluded his case after calling eight witnesses. When asked to open his defence, Metuh elected to make a no-case submission, which the court later dismissed.
When again, asked to open his defence, Metuh wrote to the Chief Judge, claiming the judge was bias and that he (the judge) was his (Metuh’s) classmate in the Law School.
Metuh raised similar claims in his application for the judge to disqualify himself. He said himself and the judge attended a function organised by their set in Uyo late last year.
Justice Abang said on Thursday that he had responded to the petition sent to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court and same was now part of the records of the court.
Metuh has also filed a fresh application, asking the court to stay further proceedings indefinitely pending the determination of an appeal he just filed against the judge’s ruling.
Yesterday, Metuh was scheduled to open his defence, but the judge elected to first hear the two pending applications filed by the PDP spokesperson.
Lead prosecution lawyer, Sylvanus Tahir opposed the application for adjournment made by Metuh’s lawyer, Emeka Etiaba.
But he said needed to reply to the motion praying for the judge’s disqualification which was served on him in the open court on Thursday.
After entertaining further submissions from parties, Justice Abang adjourned to April 8 for hearing of the motions.
He said the outcome of his rulings on the applications would determine the future of the case, adding that if the two applications failed Metuh would be given the last opportunity to open his defence.
”If the application for stay of proceedings fails, the defendant will be at liberty to open is defence for the last time,” the judge said.