The former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh on Thursday, February 23, asked Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, to disqualify himself from continuing with his matter.
Metuh, who made an oral application through his counsel, Mr Onyeachi Ikpeazu (SAN) , said he no longer has confidence in the court presided over by Abang.
The application followed the court’s refusal to grant two applications filed by Metuh, one praying the court to summon the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki by way of a subpoena to testify as witness.
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The other application, the court refused was one praying it to release Metuh’s international passport to enable him travel abroad for medical treatment.
Abang said that the court had in May 2016 refused Metuh’s application for the release of the passport and wondered why a similar application was brought before the court.
However, a mild drama ensued between the judge and Ikpeazu when the court asked him to call his next witness.
Ikpeazu said that the court had shown clear bias against the first defendant (Metuh) and added that the ruling was against the interest of justice.
He urged the court for more time to approach the DSS to release Dasuki in the view of the refusal of the court to issue a subpoena.
On his part, prosecuting counsel, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, held that the insistence of the defendant that he could not proceed with the matter without the presence of Dasuki was misconceived and had no accommodation in law.
Tahir urged the court to ignore the application to rescue itself from the trial and proceed with the matter.
The judge told Ikpeazu that his statement was contemptuous, but Ikpeazu insisted that his statement was backed by facts.
Abang, in a short ruling described the statement made by Ikpeazu as “contemptuous” of the court.
According to him, in contempt of the court, the judge is the complainant as well as the prosecutor and the judge, adding that he would however, not take action against Ikpeazu.
He said his action against the contemptuous remarks was not out of fear or cowardice, but because the court was trained to develop thick skin against such statements and not to pick offence when offended.
The judge further dismissed the application for the court to rescue itself for lacking in merit, saying, there was nothing before the court to show that it was bias.
He adjourned the matter till March 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24 for Metuh to close his case, and second defendant, Dextra to open its defence.