Olisa Metuh: CDNDC Asks CJN To Intervene Over ‘Partiality And Insensitivity’
Amidst growing discontent against the judiciary over the “shameful” handling of Olisa Metuh’s trial at the federal high court, a pressure group, Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution (CDNDC) has asked the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) to urgently intervene.
The pro-democracy group invited the CJN and the National Judicial Council (NJC) to specifically note that Justice Okon Abang who is trying the accused, person has consistently personalised the trial, especially with his latest decision to try Metuh in absence.
It expressed dismay over the handling of Metuh’s trial, and urged the CJN and the NJC to quickly investigate what has become a “high degree of judicial partiality” and “insensitivity” regularly displayed by Justice Abang against him.
The coalition in a statement by its Convener, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, said that it has become obvious to Nigerians and the international community that Justice Abang has taken the trial of the former spokesperson of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as “a personal battle, with extra-judicial interest.”
CDNDC urged the apex judicial bodies to act fast and halt the ridicule that the judiciary has been subjected to through conflicting pronouncements emanating from the court of Justice Abang, while cautioning against allowing any judge to jeopardise the integrity of the bench.
“We are of the view that the CJN and NJC should immediately commence investigation into what has become a terrible high degree of partiality and insensitivity regularly displayed by Justice Abang in the trial of Olisa Metuh, which have eroded the confidence of Nigerians in the judiciary.
“As a matter of principle, we had refrained from commenting on the matter until the latest decision of Justice Abang to try Metuh in absence, a development we consider very insensitive and unfair to a health-encumbered man who had collapsed in his court during previous trials.
“The trial judge had severally denied Metuh, the opportunity to seek appropriate treatment outside the country, even when it is on record that he had granted similar requests to others facing worse charges, including those who sought to perform religious obligations outside the country.
“We want the NJC and CJN to take a serious look at the judicial antecedents of the trial judge in several other instances, even as we make a passionate demand that time has come for the judge to recuse himself of the trial of the accused, because Metuh can never get justice under Justice Abang.
“It may interest the CJN to know that Metuh was never an appointee of government or elected into government; he was given a special assignment with his team to perform a special communication task, by a sitting President, and he discharged that responsibility accordingly.
“We have no doubt that the current administration, which has just defended the late dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha of corruption, may have carried out a similar assignment on crisis communication as that of Metuh, which government to government will continue to do,” the statement added.