The trial of former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Olisa Metuh at the Federal High Court, Abuja, suffered a major setback following an application by the two of his counsel to withdraw from the matter.
Metuh and his company, Dextra Investment Ltd., are being prosecuted by the Federal government over alleged money laundering and illegal receipt of funds from the office of the National Security Adviser to the tune of N400m for an alleged unexecuted contract.
The two lawyers Mr Onyechi Ikpeazu and Emeka Etiaba, announced before the court that they have filed a motion to withdraw from the matter.
Both counsels predicated their actions on what they described as, “Immense pressure with respect to their appearance in the case” as well as “severe threats” to their lives.
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The counsel, also cited the order of the court for day to day hearing of the matter, which they noted that they cannot afford, “having regard to diaries of their respective offices.”
In the application, Metuh’s lawyers stated that; “they have been going through immense pressure with respect to their appearance in this case, including severe threats to their lives and will be unable to continue to represent the 1st Defendant.”
In an affidavit in support of the motion on notice, Dr Ikpeazu averred, “I have received numerous threats to my life from diverse sources through telephone calls with disguised numbers, giving an ultimatum and threatening to kill me based on the manner they claimed I had been mishandling the case”
Ikpeazu also stated in the affidavit, that Emeka Etiaba had also informed him that “he had received similar threats and thus will no longer proceed with the representation of the 1st Defendant.”
He contended that “in the circumstance, it is impossible to avail the 1st Defendant the legal representation he deserves in this case” and applied that the court grant the application to withdraw from the case in line with Section 349 (7), (8) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
The matter was adjourned to March 13, 2019.