Contrary to impressions that former National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, refused to return to the public coffers N400 million, he has indeed offered to do so and he’s still willing to do so whenever the government is ready to retrieve the money, according to his family.
A statement signed yesterday by Chief Gilbert Metuh on behalf of the family, pointed out that since Olisa Metuh’s arrest and even up to about a week ago, the PDP chief has made several overtures to the authority for him to refund the money but all efforts have been unsuccessful.
“Till date, the powers that be have shown that they would rather prosecute our son than accept a refund of the money. For those who are conversant with the goings on in the court, it is no longer news that our son was not informed that this money came from a source other than from the former President. Why then this concerted effort to silence him finally.
“Our concern now is that our son should not be sentenced to a life in a wheel-chair, especially as we believe that the paramount interest of the authorities should rather be more on the recovery of funds. In this case, our son has from the onset shown his willingness to refund the money rather than dragging in other party members involved in the said assignment.
“It is instructive that out of over 300 names listed as having received money from the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA), all those who offered to refund money were not arraigned in court. Our son is the only one whose offer to refund money was rejected and has been arraigned in court and his case given accelerated hearing. On each trial date, the hostility in the courtroom is palpable.
“As we speak to you, the offer to refund the money to the Federal Government is still open and the government is yet to accept the offer. It is therefore, clear to us that the intention is not the recovery of funds but a clear persecution of our son.”
Making a case for the former PDP spokesperson to be flown abroad for medical treatment, the family reiterated that Metuh was diagnosed with a spinal cord problem in 2004 and he has consistently managed it over this period. But due to the treatments he allegedly received while in custody, the situation got aggravated.
The family also contended that in the course of Metuh’s trial, the situation deteriorated, especially after he fell at a meeting in the party’s office for which he was rushed to the National Hospital and was admitted in the Intensive Care Unit.
Stressing that it is absurd that the main reason given by the court for refusing the application is that there are several teaching hospitals in Nigeria that can handle such critical spinal problems, the Metuh family said the claim by the trial Judge has no medical basis whatsoever.
“This is clearly one of the tactics being used by the court in an attempt to whip up public sentiments against our son in this courtroom media trial more so when it is judicial notice that even public officers are allowed to travel abroad on ordinary medical check-up and at public expense. Our request is on the basis of a life-threatening ailment and will be undertaken with our own private resources”, the family further reiterated.