The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday held that former President Goodluck Jonathan must appear before the court on Oct.25 as a defendant witness in compliance with court order.
The Court of Appeal, Abuja, on Oct.3 granted an application filed by Olisa Metuh, to compel the ex-president to testify in the N400 million fraud charge brought against the applicant.
Justice Okon Abang held that the ex-president was mandated by the decision of the appellate court to appear before him (Abang) to testify in the criminal suit.
Abang, however, said that Jonathan was yet to be served with the decision of the appellate court.
He said the ex-president must appear before the trial court if a proof of service to that effect was presented to the court in the next 24 hours.
The judge also said that retired Col. Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser (NSA), was billed to appear in the matter on the same date as a defendant witness.
The N400million was alleged to have been disbursed from the Office of the National Security Adviser.
Abang held that both Jonathan and Dasuki were issued subpoena by the court on the order of the appeal court to act as defendant’s witnesses to Metuh.
However, the judge adjourned ruling on the motion filed by Mr Ahmed Raji (SAN), counsel to Dasuki, challenging the propriety of the subpoena compelling his client to testify in Metuh’s trial.
Abang said the subpoena mandating both Jonathan and Dasuki to appear in the court on Oct.25, must be complied with even as a motion against it was yet to be decided.
“I have taken note of arguments of parties on the motion challenging the appearance of Dasuki in this matter as a defendant witness.
“I need time to consider all the arguments because my library is in Asaba, where I now base. In the light of this, the ruling is adjourned until Oct.25,’’ he held.
Raji, counsel for Dasuki, had approached the trial court for it to set aside the subpoena aimed at compelling his client to act as defendant witness in Metuh’s fraud trial.
He argued that the move was unjust, adding that his client was not in the right frame of mind to perform such role.
Raji further said Dasuki had been in detention for about two years over similar allegations framed against Metuh, adding that it amounted to “state torture’’ to force him to testify in the case.
Chief Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), and Mr Sylvester Tahir, counsel for Metuh and EFCC respectively objected to the application, as according to them, both Dasuki and Jonathan are competent witnesses in the matter.
Ikpeazu said: “it is about time everything was placed on the table.’’
On his part, Tahir said nobody was above the law, adding that the defendant and not the prosecution had sought the appearance of both Dasuki and Jonathan in the matter.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Metuh has said the N400 million traced to him by EFCC was not a proceed of fraud.
He said the fund was duly assigned to the office of the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, which he headed as expenditure for ex-president Jonathan’s presidential campaign in 2015.