The trial of the embattled National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh, before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja was stalled on Wednesday.
Metuh was reported sick.
The matter, which was adjourned to Wednesday for the continuation of cross examination of the of the third defence witness, Dr. Doyin Okupe, could not go on as a result of this.
At the resumed hearing of the proceedings on Wednesday, Metuh’s counsel, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), informed the court that he received a call at the early hours of the morning that Metuh was rushed to the National Hospital, Abuja at about 1am on Thursday.
Etiaba said: “I was informed early hours of Thursday morning about the ill health of Metuh.
“I was told that he was rushed to the National hospital at about 1am and I responded that whatever it takes, he must be in court for the trial.
“I drove into the court this morning and Metuh was at the car park in a car.
“On getting there, I realised he had vomited profusely and his brother-in-law, Mr. Andrew, narrated how they went to the hospital last night from their residence at Prince and Princess Estate.
“On getting there, the only medical officer at the hospital announced to them that they were on strike but administered an injection and drugs to Metuh.”
Etiaba told the court that Metuh left the hospital at about 3:30am and was advised to return at 8am because the hospital beds were not in a good shape to keep him on admission because of the strike.
While informing the court that Metuh was on prescription and was expected to take his drugs at intervals, Etiaba prayed the court for an adjournment to enable his client attend to his ill health, adding that it is only the living that can stand trial.
He said: “The implication is that even if Metuh is here, he will not be able to take a particular pain killer by 11am.
“I therefore pray the court to grant our request because this is a life threatening situation.
“The first defendant needs to stay alive to face his trial.”
Responding, the prosecution counsel, Silvanus Tahir, who did not oppose the application for adjournment, sympathised Metuh.
Tahir said: “This shows our humanity.
“We are all mere mortals, flesh and blood and subject to ups and downs of life.
“We will not oppose the oral application of the defence.”
The trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, held that there was no evidence before the court on the ill health of Metuh.
According to Abang: “It would have been proper for the medical practitioner who had given treatment to Metuh to have been present in court or to have given statement on oath.
“However, at the discretion of the court, I will grant the application for adjournment.”
Abang further adjourned the trial to May 24, 2016 for further cross examination of the third defence witness.