The Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday ordered President Goodluck Jonathan to appear before it to testify as a witness in defence of a former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh.
A court official confided in our correspondent that Metuh’s legal team filed the draft subpoena before Justice Okon Abang shortly after the Monday’s proceedings.
The court official said the judge signed the subpoena after retiring to his chambers at the end of Monday’s proceedings.
The source, however, indicated that Jonathan’s court appearance on Wednesday would be dependent on whether or not he would be served with the subpoena signed by the judge between Monday and today (Tuesday).
It was learnt that the Abuja home of the ex-President was indicated on the subpoena as his service address.
The source said, “I can authoritatively tell you that Metuh’s legal team filed the subpoena before the judge on Monday and the judge signed the subpoena promptly after the proceedings on Monday.
“The judge indicated in the subpoena that the former President should appear in court on Wednesday.
“But whether or not the former President would appear in court on Wednesday would be dependent on if the court bailiff will be able to serve him at his home in Abuja between Monday and the end of Tuesday.”
Metuh, through his lead counsel, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), told the court on Monday that he would seek to subpoena the ex-President as a witness.
Most of Metuh’s defence witnesses, including Mr. Ben Nwosu, who ended his testimony earlier on Monday, had insisted that the N400m paid to the ex-spokesperson for the PDP from the Office of the National Security Adviser in November 2014, (the money being part of the case against Metuh), was directly authorised by Jonathan.
Metuh’s lawyer, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), told Justice Abang that he had written formally to Jonathan notifying him of his intention to have him testify in court but that the former President did not reply to his letter.
Ikpeazu said this while responding to questions raised by Justice Abang after Nwosu ended his testimony on Monday.
The SAN said he intended to apply for subpoena to be issued on Jonathan after the detained former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, earlier summoned to testify as Metuh’s witness would have ended his testimony.
He said, “We have another witness on subpoena, and at the end of the evidence of this another witness, we will take a decision on whether or not the first defendant (Metuh) will testify.
“The other witness we want to subpoena is Goodluck Jonathan, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Responding to further questions from the judge, Ikpeazu said, “We wrote him a letter but he did not respond and our plan will be to apply for the subpoena after the first application (for subpoena to be issued on Dasuki).”
Although Ikpeazu said Dasuki was scheduled to be the next to testify for the defence, the ex-NSA was absent from court on Monday.
Justice Abang said on Monday that Dasuki was scheduled to appear in court on October 25 (Wednesday).
The judge had earlier refused to grant Metuh’s request to sign the subpoena to be served on Dasuki.
But the Court of Appeal in Abuja on September 29 overruled the judge and ordered him to sign the subpoena.
Justice Abang noted on Monday that he had since October 3 complied with the Court of Appeal’s order by signing the subpoena which was said to have been subsequently served on Dasuki in DSS custody.
But Dasuki’s lawyer, Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN), was however in court to oppose the request to compel the ex-NSA to testify as Metuh’s defence witness.