I Won’t Remove Justice Abang From Your Trial, Chief Judge Auta Tells Metuh

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Justice Ibrahim Auta, has told  Chief Olisa Metuh, he would not  transfer his trial for money laundering from Justice Okon Abang to another judge, because it was too late in the trial.

The FHC Chief Judge conveyed this in a  letter, dated March 24, 2016, signed by his Special Assistant, Mr. Ambrose Unaeze, and addressed to one of Metuh’s lawyers, Mr. Emeka Etiaba (SAN), who had signed and sent the petition on behalf of his client.

Etiaba  accused  Justice Abang of bias and claimed in the petition that Metuh was a classmate of the judge in the 1987/1988 set of the Nigerian Law School.

He claimed that Metuh and the judge both practised law in Lagos before the PDP spokesperson relocated to Abuja, and Justice Abang, on his part, was appointed a judge.

Etiaba also alleged that Metuh met and had discussion with Justice Abang late last year in the Meridien Hotel in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, adding that his client was baffled at the views expressed by the judge during their encounter.

The lawyer also accused the judge of denying his client fair hearing by refusing to release to the defence team a copy of the records of proceedings of the court to enable them to appeal against some decisions of the judge in the course of the trial.

He alleged that the defence applied for the record of proceedings on February 8, 2016, to enable the defence to appeal against some decisions of the court, but that one month and one week later, the judge had yet to release it to the defence.

The chief Judge’s letter stated, “I refer you to your letter of March 16, 2016, and after a careful perusal of your application and the reasons stated therein, the Hon. Chief Judge has directed me to inform you that it is too late in the day for his Lordship to take administrative action with regard to your application.

“This is so because the parties have already joined issues but are at liberty to file an application before the judge for his consideration and appeal if not satisfied with whatever decision he may take.

“Please accept the assurances of My Lord, the Hon. Chief Judge.”

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