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August 17, 2018

Ndigbo condemn Olisa Metuh’s court appearance in handcuffs

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More condemnations have continued to trail the treatment given to the PDP’s Publicity Secretary, Mr. Olisa Metuh, by the Nigeria Prison Service.

Metuh, who is standing trial over an alleged fraud of N400 million, was brought to the Federal High Court in Abuja in handcuffs – the only one so far among the prominent persons accused in the Dasuki case to be so handcuffed.

On online platforms, in telephone conversations and personal interactions, many prominent Igbos, ordinary citizens and Igbo forums alike have condemned what they call the “humiliation and unfair treatment” meted out to Metuh by arraigning him in court in handcuffs – like a common criminal.

“Ndi’ Igbo are very unhappy over Metuh’s treatment. They are trying to humiliate him and to break his spirit — just because he is an Igbo man:’ said a prominent traditional chieftain who did not want to be named.

Harvard trained economist and former governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, has also queried the motive behind the handcuffing of Metuh by operatives of the Nigeria Prisons Service.

In response to a reporter’s inquiry Wednesday, in Abuja, a cleared miffed Ezeife observed that they have seen other accused persons being moved to the court and wondered why Metuh was handcuffed.

His words: “We saw accused persons being moved to the court. May we know why Mr. Olisah Metuh is in handcuffs

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has already condemned the treatment meted out to Metuh. In a statement issued on Tuesday by its National Secretary, Prof. Adewale Oladipo, the PDP condemned the Federal Government’s “brazen display of authoritarianism” in arraigning Metuh in handcuffs even when the courts were yet to hear his case.

The PDP said the unfair treatment of Metuh was a further indication that the Government’s anti-graft war was a deliberate political witch-hunt carefully designed against the PDP and its officials, in order to humiliate, embarrass and portray the PDP leaders as common criminals and set the stage to cow and decimate the opposition and perceived foes of the government.

The PDP has also alleged that the Nigeria Prisons Service officials were instructed by the Presidency to handcuff the party’s spokesman to court.

Nigerian Prisons Service Response.

Meanwhile, in response to scathing criticism of the Nigerian Prisons Service’s (NPS) handcuffing of Metuh and not other similarly accused persons, the NPS spokesman, Francis Enobore, said the officer in charge of the escort that took Metuh to court was at liberty to determine if the inmate should be handcuffed based on security situation, the environment and intelligence report made available to him.

According to Enobore, Metuh was not maltreated in any way and stressed that handcuffing an inmate was a standard procedure, which the prison warden could employ based on the situation at hand.

His words: “Handcuffing an inmate is at the discretion of the officer in-charge, depending on the security situation, the environment and intelligence report available to the officer. Sometimes they look at the atmosphere and take the necessary decision’

Asked if there was intelligence that Metuh might escape or was in danger of being harmed, Enobore said he did not know because he was not at the scene.

He dismissed suggestions that the PDP spokesman was handcuffed to please the Presidency, saying there was no political consideration in the treatment of inmates by the prisons service.


 

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