Government

Arms Deal: NTA, FRCN, Others Indicted In Metuh’s N400m Trial

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The ongoing trial of the former National Publicity Secretary, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, has opened up more revelations to the manner with which the monies meant for arms deal were spent.

According to a witness, Mr. Richard Ihediwa, Metuh made cash payments to NTA, FRCN and other media houses benefited from the N400 million.

Daily Trust, Champion and Newswatch were also listed by the witnesses as media houses that were paid cash to launder the image of the former president.

While under cross examination by counsel to Destra Investment Limited, Mr. Tochukwu Onwugbufor, the witness told the court that Metuh paid cash to one Segun Olatunji Jacobs of the Tribune.

He added that he could not remember some of the newspaper houses which were paid in cash.

Ihediwa explained that the media campaign to launder the image of former President Goodluck Jonathan became necessary because of the agitation from North, South-south, South-west and South-east.

“The issue of resource control, infrastructural development and the implementation of the recommendation from the National conference were threatening in the South-South.

“In the North, there was the issue of insecurity. The agitation led to a lot of demand on the former president and he felt the best way to handle the agitation was through media publicity and public enlightenment instead the use of the gun or force,” he said.

Earlier, a motion filed by Dr. Olugbumi Usim-Wilson seeking the withdrawal of her suretyship for Metuh was heard.

Onwugbufor, who argued the motion on behalf of the 2nd defendant said, even though the application was made in bad faith, they will not oppose it.

Describing the development as “unfortunate,” he told the court that no cogent reason was placed before the court on why she was withdrawing her suretyship and that the practice should not be allowed into the nation’s practice.

Responding, counsel to the applicant told the court that his client stood as surety voluntarily and the court should allow her to withdraw since she acted in good faith.

He also prayed the court to hold that Metuh would not in any way harass or intimidate the applicant.

The statement prompted counsel to Metuh, Emeka Etiaba, to raise a serious objection to the last prayer. In his ruling, Justice Abang allowed the applicant’s application and subsequently withdrawn as surety for Metuh.

Justice Abang, in a short ruling, stressed the need for parties, counsel and even the judges to search their conscience in all they do because there is a great God that we will all give account to.

“If I had taken this application from withdrawal first, it means Metuh would have gone back to Kuje prisons until he secures another surety.”

He further held that the applicant’s prayer to hold that Metuh should not harass or intimidate her was irrelevant since it did not form part of the prayers on the motion.

The case has been adjourned till November 30 2016, for continuation of trial.

 

Media strategist •Good citizen of Nigeria and Social Media Evangelist

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