Olisa Metuh, a former national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), appeared in court on a wheelchair on Wednesday, begging that his international passport is released to enable him travel overseas for a much needed medical treatment.
Metuh said this on Wednesday at the resumption of his trial at the federal high court in Abuja.
This is making the third time Metuh would ask the court to release his passport for him to seek medical attention abroad.
At the resumed hearing, Justice Okon Abang, the judge, granted Metuh’s counsel, Emeka Etiaba, a senior advocate of Nigeria, permission to move the application.
Abang had earlier refused another application seeking permission for Metuh to be absent from the proceedings based on his health
Etiaba noted that his client did not appeal against the two previous applications, which were refused by the court but added that this was a new and different application.
“It is instructive to note that the facts now are different from the facts relied on in the previous application,” he said.
“He (Metuh) has lost sensation in his lower leg, this never happened before so this reinforces the fact that the circumstances of this application are different.”
According to Etiaba, the exercise of discretion is always based on the material made available to the court and the rulings on the last two applications were based on material made available to the court at that time.
He said that his client, by the fresh application, was presenting a new case before the court in line with the new fact that had emerged and prayed the court to consider the application.
He continued, “It is not a case where the court will be viewed as being ‘functus officio’ as the new application does not seek to re-open the previous applications, which were determined based on circumstances different from this one.”
While speaking on the issue that the court had said it would not entertain a medical report from any doctor in Nigeria with regards to Metuh’s case, Etiaba said that they were relying on a letter from a neurosurgeon in the UK.
In the opposing argument, Sylvanus Tahir, the prosecutor, prayed the court to dismiss the application on grounds that it lacked merit and was an abuse of court process.
Tahir said, “The latest application, being the third in the series, is an abuse of court process as the court has refused similar applications twice.
According to him, the only thing different about the latest application is the timing because the circumstance, which is the release of international passport on the grounds of ill health remains the same.
The prosecutor noted that there was also no medical report from a foreign doctor attached to the application.
Abang adjourned the matter till March 15.