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Arms Scam: Family Raises Alarms, Says Metuh’s Life in Danger, Asks Court to Allow Him Travel Abroad for Medicals

By Ayo Balogun

 BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Family of the embattled former opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh has raised an alarm that the life of their son is in danger as he was not granted permission for treatment outside the country, saying that his health has aggravated.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Chief Gilbert Metuh said in a statement on Thursday that the entire Metuh’s family had been following the issues regarding their son’s ordeal since his arrest, detention and arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commision (EFCC) since January this year.

The family said their son was diagnosed with a spinal cord problem in 2004 and that he has consistently managed it over this period, noting however, that due to the treatments he received while in EFCC custody, the situation got worsened.

The famiy said in the course of his trial, the situation deteriorated, especially after he fell at a meeting in his party’s head office, Abuja for which he was rushed to the National Hospital and later admitted in the Intensive Care Unit.

“Notwithstanding the grave medical condition, he still kept his court date the very next morning in spite of medical advice by the doctors. On another such occasion he vomited in court and had to be rushed back to the hospital where he is lying critically ill. Upon doctors’ recommendation, our son made application to be granted leave and his international passport released for him to travel to a recommended neurological hospital in London for immediate, critical delicate corrective surgery to save him from imminent irreversible paralysis.

“We are therefore shocked that with all the information available to the court regarding his grave medical condition and the critical need for him to have this corrective surgery, the Federal High Court, Abuja refused his application. It is also instructive to note that the Federal High Court, Abuja on the same day granted leave to someone facing similar trial to go abroad for one month for prayers while their ailing son was not allowed to travel for urgent medical attention. We are also aware that a few others facing similar trials, within the same Federal High Court jurisdiction, has been granted leave to travel for medical treatment and their passports released to them by the same court where they were granted bail,” they said.

According to the family, “It is absurd that the main reason given by the court for refusing the application is that there are several teaching hospitals in Nigeria that can handle such critical spinal problems, especially as this dramatic claim by the trial Judge has no medical basis whatsoever. This is clearly one of the tactics being used by the court in an attempt to whip up public sentiments against our son in this courtroom media trial more so when it is judicial notice that even public officers are allowed to travel abroad on ordinary medical check-up and at public expense. Our request is on the basis of a life-threatening ailment and will be undertaken with our own private resources.

“Sadly, as we speak, our son is lying on admission at the National Hospital where his spinal ailment is fast deteriorating and doctors fearing the worse for his life. He currently relies on palliatives being given to him at the National Hospital Abuja waiting for the opportunity of a corrective surgery.”

The family added that the essence of a criminal trial is to achieve justice and that no justice could be achieved if someone died in the process, saying that “We feel more convinced that this is a political vendetta considering the fact of his efforts to pay back the money if it came from government coffers not minding that the money has been expended as directed by the former President.”

“Till date, the powers that be have shown that they would rather prosecute our son than accept a refund of the money. For those who are conversant with the goings on in the court, it is no longer news that our son was not informed that this money came from a source other than from the former President. Why then this concerted effort to silence him finally.”

The family said their concern was that their son should not be sentenced to a life in a wheel chair, especially as they believe that the paramount interest of the authorities should rather be more on the recovery of funds, adding that in this case, their son has from the onset shown his willingness to refund the money rather than dragging in other party members involved in the said assignment.


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