A former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh collapsed in court on Monday morning.
This as his counsel, Emeka Etiaba withdrew from the case.
Metuh is standing trial on a seven-count charge of money laundering of N400m allegedly received from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd)
At the resumed trial Monday, Metuh was walking towards the dock when he missed his steps and fell flat on the floor.
Before the fall, the trial Judge, Justice Okon Abang, watching him walked staggeredly towards the dock, had asked him to return to his seat, but he refused.
However, while trying to adjust himself at the entrance of the dock, he suddenly collapsed.
Immediately, the court registrar rushed to the medical department to inform medics of the situation.
After examining the defendant, the medical personnel reported to the court that he should be sent to a hospital for further examination.
Metuh had consistently complained of ill-health and had on two different occasions applied for leave of court to travel abroad for medical attention but the court refused him the leave.
The collapse of Metuh did not deter Justice Abang from continuing with the matter.
He summoned the court registrar, Barrister Doyin Olawole, and the two clerks, Omoju James and Dorcas Danjuma to address the court on what transpired.
After the narration, the court requested the defence counsel to call his eleventh witness.
But, Metuh’s counsel, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), declined to continue with the proceedings, stating that he cannot go on when his client was lying critically ill on a stretcher.
He subsequently announced his withdrawal from the trial.
“The first defendant had a terrible fall while trying to mount to the dock, and I don’t even know if he is alive or not on that stretcher.
“Since the court had insisted on proceeding with trial, I announce my withdrawal from the trial” Etiaba stated.
But the Judge refused to accept Etiaba’s withdrawal, saying it was a ploy to delay trial.
Abang also threatened to strike out the suit based on what he perceived as the unwillingness of prosecution counsel, Silvanus Tahir to oppose an adjournment sought by the defence counsel.
The court wondered why the prosecution counsel refused to oppose the report by a Medical Doctor who was not in court but requested that Metuh be taken to the hospital.
“The Federal High Court has nothing against the first defendant. It is the duty of the prosecution to prosecute its case, the court stated.
“This is not a case of the Federal High Court. If the prosecution does not want to proceed with the trial, the court will strike out the case” Justice Abang threatened.
He subsequently adjourned the matter to May 22 for continuation of trial.
“In view of the application of the Medical Doctor in the employment of Federal High Court, that was not in court at the commencement of proceeding, and there being no objection, and since it is a medical opinion, this matter is adjourned to May 22”, Justice Abang held.
Metuh is standing trial on a 7-count charge filed against him and his company by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the prosecuting agency.
The said offences are said to have breached Section 15(2), (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act”.