The former spokesman of the PDP, Olisah Metuh, has asked the Federal High Court, Maitama Abuja, to suspend hearing in his matter, pending a decision of the Supreme Court on his no-case submission appeal.
Metuh filed an application in the Supreme Court, appealing the decision of the trial court and the appeal court dismissing his no-case submission.
Counsel to Metuh, Mr Onyeachi Ikpeazu (SAN), who moved the application, said the adjournment was in order to await the ruling of the Supreme Court. Olisa Metuh He said that the court has started hearing the appeal and would deliver its ruling on June 9.
Ikpeazu submitted that since the Supreme Court had already started hearing the appeal, the lower court could not share jurisdiction on the same matter with the Supreme Court. He described the application as a simple application, relying on Section 6, subsection 6(a) of the Constitution. “The present application is not an application for stay of proceedings or to adjourn the matter sine die.
“The only point which this court ought to decide at this sitting is whether the Federal High Court ought to defer to the Supreme Court in a situation where the Supreme Court has already started hearing the same matter.
“The law is settled, that at all times, a High Court will be acting in accordance with judicial procedure by refraining from any act that will foist a fait-accompli on the Supreme Court.
“As counsel, we all are expected to assist the court and not to put the court in a precarious position. It is also on record that we have asked the Supreme Court to take the application instantly.” Ikpeazu held that the application was 100 per cent at the discretion of the court, but added that the court should exercise such discretion judicially and judiciously in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.
Arguing in support of the motion, Mr Tochukwu Onwugbufo (SAN), counsel to Destra Investment Limited, the second defendant, aligned himself with Ikpeazu’s submissions. “A High Court cannot share jurisdiction with the Supreme Court.
The application is not asking for indefinite adjournment, but an adjournment to a specific date occasioned by the decision of the Supreme Court.” He insisted that it was completely in the overall interest of justice as envisaged by the laws of the nation.
The prosecuting counsel, Mr Sylvanus Tahir, opposed the application on the grounds that it was a ploy to waste the time of the court. “We vehemently opposed this application, praying for an order to adjourn further proceedings to await the ruling of the application in the Supreme Court which will come in the distant future.” Tahir maintained that the application had no accommodation in law, since it was amorphous and an attempt to draw the case back.
He urged the court to dismiss the application, adding that the sum total of the antecedents of the defence in the matter amounted to holding the court to ransom which the court must resist. Trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, adjourned the matter till May 2 to rule on the application for stay of proceedings.
He, however, adjourned hearing of the 2nd defendant’s application for similar adjournment till March 23.
Metuh is on trial over alleged N400million money laundering charges, money he allegedly collected from the office of the former National Security Adviser, retired Sambo Dasuki.