Former spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, has parted ways with Onyeachi Ikpeazu (SAN), his counsel in his ongoing N400m alleged fraud trial at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Ikpeazu told the court presided over by Justice Okon Abang in Wednesday, March 13, that Metuh had written a letter of disengagement to his law firm. Ikpeazu and Emeka Etiaba, SAN had been leading the defence of Metuh since January 2016 when he was arraigned by the EFCC.
Metuh’s new lawyer in the case is Abel Oziokor (SAN). He appeared in court on Wednesday.
At the proceedings of March 5, 2019 Ikpeazu had brought before the court, an application seeking to withdraw from the case citing “immense pressure”.
Justice Abang had fixed Wednesday March 13, 2019 for the hearing of the applications requesting to withdraw from the case.
And at the proceedings on Wednesday, prosecuting counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, informed the court that the prosecution had responded to the application of the defence.
Ikpeazu however told the court that Metuh says his firm can no longer effectively represent him “and he has the right”.
“If my lord could enforce his constitutional right in accordance with Section 36(C) of the constitution, we ask that you discharge me, Emeka Etiaba, SAN from further appearance” he told the judge.
Ikpeazu further added that since the application for withdrawal from the case has been overtaken by events, he applied to withdraw his application.
In ruling on the new development, the trial judge held that: “The court cannot question his reasons for the disengagement.
“The counsel to the first defendant is hereby discharged from the case.”
The new lawyer, Oziokor applied for a short adjournment to enable him get acquainted with the case. He thereafter prayed the court to grant him two weeks to enable him get proper briefing.
No objection was raised from any of the counsels. The matter was then adjourned to March 28, 2019 for continuation defence.