Former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, has offered an insight into what prompted the sudden change of the lawyers defending him in the fraud charge brought against him by the Federal Government.
In a statement yesterday, Metuh claimed that his counsel had been under “immense intimidation and harassment in the past three years of the trial.”
He said the matter assumed a disturbing dimension following the alleged threats to their lives in the last couple of weeks.
His words: “The fact is that in the past three years, my counsel have been under immense intimidation and harassment on account of the conduct of this case.
“Despite their travails, they have held steadfast on my innocence and have gone to considerable personal costs in the conduct of the case.
“However, in the last few weeks, I have become aware that their lives and personal freedom have been under severe threats which informed their application to the court to withdraw from the case.”
He went on: “Secondly, because of the day to day trial ordered by the court, it became difficult for them to give my case the time and full energy the matter demanded given their diaries and involvement in other cases, including election cases.
“It is public knowledge that in the course of this trial, I have restricted the travails to myself only, as I do not wish any other person to be part of the humiliation and tribulation, including health challenge and persecution, that I have suffered over time.”
The ex-spokesman therefore concluded that “rather than allowing the issue of their withdrawal to be at the discretion of the court, it was better in the circumstance to free them from the harrowing challenges they have been facing on account of the conduct of this case.
“It is pertinent to state that the said counsel are however still representing me in other matters in other courts as my estimation, respect and value for them have increased now more than ever before.”
He further noted: “Also, there has been a smooth transition as I have been mindful of any undue delay in the change of counsel, even with the difficulty and near impossibility of getting a senior counsel in Nigeria, who will endure the threats and pressures from official quarters as well as abandon election petitions in this season.”
Metuh hoped that at the end of the day, justice would not only be done but also seen to have been done in the matter.