Former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, yesterday, narrated before the Federal High Court in Abuja, why President Muhammadu Buhari wants to jail him.
Metuh, who is facing money laundering charges alongside his firm, Destra Investment Limited, spoke on a day he mounted the witness box to personally defend the seven-count charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, preferred against him.
Testifying as the 15th Defence Witness, DW-15, the erstwhile PDP spokesman, said his trial was a calculated attempt by the All Progressives Congress, APC, led government to silence him from criticising President Muhammadu Buhari’s dictatorial tendencies.
He told the court that top APC members had prior to the time the EFCC arrested and subsequently charged him for fraud, tried to dissuade him from attacking President Buhari in the media. Metuh told the court that some of the APC members, met him on several occasions in Dubai, Switzerland and Paris to discuss possible roles they could play to strengthen the PDP to wrestle power from President Buhari.
He said the top APC members, who he did not disclose their identities, equally complained of President Buhari’s governance style, saying they had lost confidence in his administration. Metuh said after he refused to soft-pedal on his criticisms, he started receiving warnings to be cautious of possible attack. “The then National Chairman of the APC, Oyegun, publicly warned me that the APC was not happy with me and is not taking my criticisms lightly.
“Also, when President Buhari wants to engage in undemocratic practice, I will resist such by taking press men to houses of Nigerians who were unlawfully held hostage in their houses, to conduct live press conferences, and this put an immediate stop to excesses of the DSS and other security agencies”, he told the court.
Metuh said the last straw that informed the charges against him came after President Buhari made a broadcast on a live media chat.
“He informed Nigerians that his government can arrest and detain Nigerians at will, I immediately countered that he was becoming an unrepentant tyrant.
“This provoked another round of warning and threats and the then APC chairman Oyegun came out again to warn that the government will no longer take it kindly with Olisa Metuh as PDP spokesman.
“The former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, at the burial ceremony of the mother of the Governor of Ebonyi State, in the presence of the government delegation he led, including the Minister of Labour and then members of the National Working Committee of the PDP, and some other elders of the party from the South East, warned me personally that this government has decided to teach me a lesson.
“He stated to the hearing of everybody that this government will use me to set an example of how they can destroy the careers, finances and lives of Nigerians that attempt to put a clog in the wheel of their administrative tenure “This was the period I had just come out from Kuje prison. Upon my being introduced by the Labour Minister, Ngige who told Babachir, ‘I hope you know this person, Olisa Metuh’.
“My lord, with the greatest sense of responsibility, Babachir said, you are a very lucky man, we did not want you to come out of Kuje, to my shock and amazement, he stated publicly to me that this government will jail me”.
Meanwhile, mid-way into Metuh’s Evidence in Chief, the EFCC, through its lawyer, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, urged the court to call the defendant to order, accusing him of delving into trivial and remote facts that were not connected to the money laundering charge against him. “My lord we have waited patiently.
This court is a court of record. The court has been patient.
The evidence given should be in conformity with the charge against the defendant. “We invite your lordship to know that the charges brought against the defendant bother on seven counts.
He is alleged to have diverted N400million, allegedly gotten from the office of the NSA, being the proceeds of an unlawful act.
“The other components of the charge deals with the diversion of the sum of N2 million, US dollars. “These are basically the charge for which the accused person stands trial. Going by the oral testimony of the defendant so far, this should be the fourth day.
“No attempt has been made to discuss the issue for which he is in court,” Tahir submitted. Reacting to EFCC’s position, Metuh’s lawyer, Dr. Onyeachi Ikpeazu, SAN, prayed the court to consider the provisions of the constitution that made it obligatory for the court to give fair hearing to all accused persons.
In a short ruling, trial Justice Okon Abang said he would determine the irrelevant part of the evidence at the end of the matter. “It is my view that it is not out of place for the objection of this nature to be raised. The position of the SAN is also noted.
“I cannot at this stage determine which evidence is relevant and remote. It is like urging the court to determine a substantive issue at an interlocutory application.
“It will be at the end of the proceedings that the court will determine whether the evidence is valid or not. If the evidence is relevant, it will reflect in the judgment”, Justice Abang held. Metuh is facing trial for allegedly receiving N400m from the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, prior to the 2015 presidential election, without executing any contract.
The anti-graft agency alleged that the fund was electronically wired from an account that ONSA operated with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to Metuh, via account no. 0040437573, which his firm operated with Diamond Bank Plc. It told the court that the fund which was released to Metuh and his firm by detained former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, rtd,ý ýwas part of about $2.1billion earmarked for the purchase of arms to fight insurgency in the North East.
Besides, the prosecution which had earlier closed its case after it called eight witnesses that testified before the court, equally alleged that Metuh was involved in an illicit transaction that involved the exchange of $2million.
UBEC, RSUBEB Begin Digital School Construction In Rivers
As part of government’s efforts to realize its dream of making the nation’s educational system a global digital community, the Federal Government, through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (RSUBEB), have commenced the construction of a modern digital Smart Basic School in the state, with 14-month completion schedule.
The school, which is a pilot modern basic education facility, is designed by UBEC in collaboration with RSUBEB to entrench digitization of ICT-driven basic education system across the 36 states and FCT, Abuja.
Speaking with journalists at a brief handover ceremony of the proposed smart school site to UBEC by RSUBEB at the Community Primary School, Uzuoba in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state, over the weekend, the National Consultant, UBEC Smart School Project, Prof Masud Abdulkarim, said the school was designed to incorporate digital technology into the basic education system in the country, which he said, has been in practice in advanced countries for years.
Abdulkarim stated that the desire of the Federal Government was to ensure that Nigerian children were not left out in the digital space, saying that the school would have great impact on the youth and give them equal opportunity to compete globally in the technology world.
He described the school as the first of its kind in the history of the country, adding that the school would have four categories that would take care of the nursery, handicapped, primary as well as junior secondary students with a maximum of 35 persons per class of two streams.
Abdulkarim noted that with the strategy, no fewer than 700 children would be enrolled into the school.
According to him, the school would afford the children the opportunity to become robotic engineers, artificial intelligence (AI) engineers and ICT engineers, and added that as future leaders, they need to be equipped and encouraged.
The UBEC consultant commended the state government for the provision of the school for the construction of the smart school, and described the site as the most suitable across the 23 states so far visited.
“Let me thank the RSUBEB for the site, in fact, it is the best and most suitable site among the 23 states we have so far visited. Because it has an existing school structure with a fence to protect our equipment and infrastructure. Moreso, the project will impact on the schools around because they will benefit from our Wi-Fi”, he stated.
Abdulkarim called on the host community to jealously guard the project as a growing child, till its maturity to adult stage, saying that they were important stakeholders in the project.
Also speaking on behalf of the Chairman of Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (RSUBEB), Ven Fyneface Akah, a commissioner in the board, Chief Faith Amaso, called for synergy between the contractors and host community in other to remove every impediment that may affect the delivery of the project on schedule.
Akah opined that the project, when completed, would improve basic education in the state, and expressed happiness over the commencement of the project in the state.
Rivers United Beat Young Africans Of Tanzania 1-0
Rivers United Football Club of Port Harcourt, yesterday, at the Adokiye Amasiemaka Football Stadium, trounced the Young Africans Football Club of Tanzania 1-0 in a return leg match of the ongoing Confederation of African Football Club Champions League competition.
The stadium, which was filled to capacity, witnessed a trilling encounter, which saw the crowd craving for more.
It would be recalled that Rivers United had defeated the Young Africans of Tanzania 1-0 in the first leg of the championship at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, last Sunday.
Reacting to the feat, the Chairman of Degema Local Government Area, Hon. Michael John Williams, expressed joy over the victory of the Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt against the Young Africans of Tanzania in the ongoing Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League.
The match, which ended 1-0 in favour of the Rivers United FC, took place at the Adokiye Amiesimaka International Stadium in Rivers State, yesterday.
Top government officials in the state, including Rivers Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo; LG council chairmen and commissioners, amongst other sports enthusiasts, graced the event.
Speaking on the outcome of the match, Williams stated that the Rivers United players exhibited the Rivers team spirit, which culminated in their victory.
The political heavyweight in Degema LGA, noted that nothing would be impossible for Rivers people to achieve when they work together in unison and firm determination.
He added that the massive support and huge investment in the sports sector by the Governor Nyesom Wike administration, also motivated the Rivers team, who worked hard to secure a back-to-back victory.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
NJC Okays Six Chief Judges, 30 Others For Appointment
The National Judicial Council (NJC), has recommended the appointment of chief judges and 30 others as judicial officers to beef up judicial functions in some states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
At its 95th meeting held on September 15 and 16, 2021, the council considered the list of candidates presented by its Interview Committee, and recommended the 36 successful candidates to their respective state governors for appointment as heads of courts and other judicial officers in Nigeria.
They are Hon. Justice Richard O. Olorunfemi as chief judge, Kogi State, Hon. Justice Joe Itsebaga Acha for Edo, Hon. Justice Akintoroye Williams Akin for Ondo, Hon. Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf for FCT, Hon. Justice Ekaette Francesca Fabian-Obot for Akwa Ibom, and Hon. Justice J. O. Adeyeye for Ekiti State.
Others are Hon. Kadi Baba Gana Mahdi as Grand Kadi, Yobe; Umaru Ahmad Liman as Grand Kadi, Bauchi; Hon. Justice Osagede Osado Emmanuel as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Nasarawa; Hon. Justice Mashud Akintunde Akinfemi Abass as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Oyo State; and Siyaka Momoh Jimoh Usman as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Kogi State.
Three judges are recommended for High Court of Gombe, and they are Zainab Abdulkadir Rasheed, Abdussalam Muhammad, and Daurabo Suleiman Sikka.
Akwa Ibom has Effiong Asukwo Effiong; Bauchi has Nana Fatima Jibril; while Kaduna High Court has Abdulkarim Mahmud.
The three candidates recommended for Katsina State are Kabir Shuaibu, Ibrahim Ishaku Mashi, and Ibrahim Abubakar Mande, while Prof Alero Akeredolu was recommended for Ondo State.
Four successful candidates for Oyo State are Olusola Adebisi Adetujoye, Folabimpe Beatrice Segun Olakojo, Prof Taiwo Elijah Adewale, and Kareem Adeyimika Adedokun.
Kogi State has three candidates, and they are Abubakar Sule Ibrahim, Abdullah Sulyman, as well as Aminu Ali Eri.
Two Kadis for Sharia Court of Appeal are Adamu Kuna Jibril and Ahmed Baba Bala, while the four for Bauchi are Musa Sani Abubakar, Mahdi Manga, Khamis Al-Hamidallah Muhammad and Sani Musa with Ondo State having one in the person of Orimisan James Okorisa and Oyo Customary Court of Appeal having Ajadi Olubukola Omolayo.
A statement by the NJC Director of Information, Mr Soji Oye, and released in Abuja, yesterday, said that all the recommended candidates are expected to be sworn-in after approval by President Muhammadu Buhari, and their respective state governors, and confirmation by the respective state Houses of Assembly.
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