The judge currently handling the trial of the spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh has denied having any relationship with the politician.
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja noted that he had no deal with Metuh during his (the judge) practice as a lawyer and while in school.
The judge’s position is contained in his response to a petition written against him by Metuh to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta.
Justice Abang’s response is dated March 23.
Metuh had, in the petition written against by one of his lawyers, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), claimed among others, that the judge was his classmate at the Law School in 1988 and that he last met the judge late last year at the Meridien Hotel, Akwa Ibom.
The embattled PDP chieftain expressed anger that he could not get justice before the judge, accusing him (Justice Abang) of bias and of deliberately refusing to release records of proceedings to enable him appeal the judge’s earlier decisions.
The PDP spokesman, whose move is seen as attempt to scuttle his trial, is praying Justice Auta to transfer the case to another judge to commence afresh.
In his response, Justice Abang, said he neither knew nor had any relationship with Metuh, stressing that it was impossible for the relationship Metuh claimed existed between them to affect the facts and laws in relation to his (Metuh’s) trial.
“With respect to the first issue that the petitioner Emeka Etiaba (SAN) stated that the 1st defendant in Charge FHC/ABJ/CR/05/2016 was my classmate in the Nigerian Law School,my Lord, for the records, I was at the Law School in 1987/88 Academic Session.
“I am not aware that Olisa Metuh was my classmate in the Nigerian Law School. I cannot recall seeing him in the time session in my time. In the law school, we were over 1,000 students and we had then two sessions.
“He is not from my place, Oron, in Akwa Ibom State. I did not see him as a student in University of Calabar that I attended between September 1983 till June 1987.
“I have never met him in practice anywhere in the country before I was elevated to the bench in June 2009. Again, he claimed he met me in Le’ Mariden Uyo late last year.
“I was not in Le’ Meriden Uyo late last year. I had no function that I attended in Le’ Meriden in Uyo late last year. I did not meet him in Le’ Meriden Uyo late last year.
“If the records show that he is a lawyer and was called to Nigerian Bar on November 3, 1988, which record I am yet to see, that cannot affect the facts and the law.
“I attended recently my class reunion meeting in Abuja, Lagos and Enugu, I did not see Olisa Metuh in the places I mentioned. I am not related to Olisa Metuh in any way, I do not know where he comes from,” Justice Abang said.
On Metuh’s allegation that majority of the judge’s rulings was in favour of the prosecution, Justice Abang noted that as a lawyer, Etiaba knew what option existed for a party, who was not comfortable with a court’s decision.
“As regard the issue that I made interlocutory decisions in favour of the prosecution in the matter, my response here is simple. And that is, that I am entitled to give decisions in matters placed before me for adjudication having heard parties.
“That is why there are appellate courts. If he is dissatisfied with those decisions, I think Emeka Etiaba (SAN) ought to know what to do.
“As regard the alleged non-release of the record of proceedings, I think Emeka Etiaba (SAN) is not fair to me at all. I will leave him to his conscience. He has an improper motive in this regard.
“For the records, my lord, the defendant applied for the Certified True Copy of proceedings at the time proceedings were going on from day to day. I approved same and directed my secretary to type the proceedings.
“The proceedings were bulky in nature because I heard the case from day to day. When the secretary concluded typing the proceedings, I abandoned all other matters before me and concentrated on checking the typed proceedings to be in line with what were in the court’s records.
“When I proof-read the proceedings and was satisfied that it represents what transpired in the open court, I endorsed same for certification and released the proceedings to them on March 15, 2016,” Justice Abang said.