Jonathan Wants N1bn for Transport to Testify at Olisa Metuh’s Trial
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to set aside the subpoena ordering him to appear in court as a witness in the trial of a former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh.
In the application made on his behalf by his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozehome SAN on Monday, the former president asked in the alternative to setting aside the subpoena order, the court orders Metuh to pay the sum of N1 billion to cover travel expenses for himself and his security personnel from his home town, Otuoke, in Bayelsa State, to Abuja.
The N1bn which is to be deposited in the court for and on Jonathan’s behalf is also to cover the time that he might spend appearing before the court to testify about his actions in office as Nigeria’s president between 2010 and 2015.
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court had at the request of Olisa Metuh granted the subpoena order to summon Jonathan and a detained former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, to appear in court on Tuesday.
Metuh who is standing trial for the diversion of public funds to the tune of N400 million had always maintained that he received the sum from Dasuki on the directive of Jonathan and that both men needed to testify in court on the matter.
In his motion argued by Ozekhome on Monday however, Jonathan contended that the evidence being asked of him would amount to an invasion of his privacy, and family life as provided for in Section 37 of the Nigerian Constitution. He added that he was making the request that the subpoena be set aside or Metuh be ordered to pay for his travelling expenses, in line with the provisions of Section 241(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
In his affidavit, the former president equally claimed that the evidence sought to be obtained from him was likely to expose him to a criminal charge, penalty or forfeiture.
He further argued that the subpoena was vague and obtained on frivolous ground and in bad faith as it was meant to embarrass him.
Jonathan further distanced himself from Metuh, claiming that the former PDP spokesman was not his personal aide or an appointee and so could he (Jonathan) as president could not have dealt with him (Metuh) directly under any circumstance to warrant the invitation of the applicant to testify in the charge.
He also submitted that there was no nexus between him and Metuh and the charge for which Metuh is standing trial as he knew nothing about the charges preferred against Metuh.
According to Punch, Jonathan also stated in his affidavit, that his lawyer, Ozekhome advised him that he could ask the court to order Metuh to pay for his travelling expenses before honouring the summon to testify.