Former spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, has reacted to Friday’s release of names of alleged “looters” by the Federal Government through the Minister of information, Lai Mohammed.
Mr. Metuh said he had asked his lawyers to review the implications of this latest “attack” by the government and take appropriate steps for redress.
“In all, my faith is firm in God that this tyranny will not last forever and that no mortal is omnipotent in my matter,” he said in a statement.
Mr. Mohammed addressed a press conference on Saturday in Lagos in which he released some names of top members of the PDP, who, he claimed looted the national treasury when the party was in power between 1999 to 2015.
Among the list was the name of Mr. Metuh in which he was said to have collected the sum of N1.4 billion from the office of the the National Security Adviser (NSA).
The former PDP spokesperson is currently on trial for collecting N400 million from the former NSA.
Mr. Metuh said by the publication, by the federal government had breached the Nigerian constitution by seeking to burden him with two criminal trials on the same charge: one before Justice Okon Abang and the other before the media.
Mr. Metuh also said since his arrest
arrest on the January 5, 2016 and subsequent arraignment, he has refrained from publicly discussing his “persecution and travails by the government”.
However, he said, the present action of the government leaves him with no option “than to defend my name and integrity”.
Mr. Metuh also said “the charge against me is that I received the sum of N400 million from the Office of the National Security Adviser to carry out duties assigned to me as the then National Publicity Secretary of the PDP by then President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The major crux of the prosecution argument is that I ought to have known that the money was a part of an alleged and yet to be proven unlawful activity of Col Sambo Dasuki(rtd), former NSA to President Jonathan.
“The charge was brought regardless of the fact that neither President Jonathan who gave me the assignment and directed the release of the funds nor Col Dasuki(rtd), who effected the release of the funds have ever been interrogated nor even interviewed in this regard.
“ As a matter of fact, officers of the office of the National Security Adviser have testified in court that the payment made to me followed all due process usually observed in the establishment,” he said.
Mr. Metuh also said the prosecution has so far not alleged any collusion on his part suggesting that he ought to have known of the alleged unlawful activity.
He said the alleged illegality of the funds has neither been established in law nor in fact.
“I have never held a government office and/or position and could not therefore have had any access to government funds.
“In view of the weakness of the case against me, the APC led Federal Government resorted to all kinds of dirty tactics to dehumanise and intimidate me.
“They have done everything humanly possible to ensure complete persecution starting from bringing me to court in handcuffs( and parading the capture of Nigeria’s most wanted) to media trials and constant interference with my case.
“I have been reliably informed that the Federal Government has ordered a conviction at all cost to ensure that the PDP is tainted before the elections.
“The government ‘s determination to achieve this objective is clearly highlighted by the refusal to allow me attend to my deteriorating health notwithstanding several expert medical opinion on the matter,” he said.
Mr. Metuh said by going to the media to name him a looter, the federal government has not only given a body language but has issued a direct intimidation and threat to the judiciary to get a compulsory conviction.
He said it is now clear that the APC led government “that thrives in impunity and intimidation of other arms of government” will not allow justice to be done in his matter.
He said Nigeria under the APC “ has descended into the worst form of draconian rule where the executive arm directly interferes and seeks to control and determine matters within the purview of the legislature and the judiciary”.