Richard Ihediwa, the fifth defence witness in the ongoing trial of former National Publicity Secretary, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, resumed his testimony yesterday.
He revealed before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, how Metuh made cash payments to several media houses including major electronic and print outfits in the country, out of the N400 million transferred to him by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The witness, who gave details of the account during cross-examination by counsel to the second defendant (Destra Investment Limited), Mr. Tochukwu Onwugbufor (SAN), told the court that Metuh paid cash to some of them for advertorials made towards 2015 general elections.
He stated that the media campaign to launder the image of Jonathan became necessary following series of agitations from the North, South-South, South-West and South-East geo-political zones of the country.
“The issue of resource control, infrastructural development and the implementation of the recommendations from the National Conference was threatening in the South-South.
“In the North, there was the issue of insecurity. The agitation led to a lot of demands on the former president and he felt the best way to handle the agitations was through media publicity and public enlightenment rather than the use of the gun or force” he said.
Earlier, a motion filed by Dr. Olugbumi Usim-Wilson seeking the withdrawal of her suretyship for Metuh was heard.
Onwugbufor, who argued the motion on behalf of the second defendant, noted that even though the application was made in bad faith, they would not oppose it.
Describing the development as unfortunate, he told the court that no cogent reason was placed before the court on why she was withdrawing her suretyship and that the practice should not be allowed.
The counsel to the applicant told the court that his client stood as surety voluntarily and the court should allow her to withdraw since she acted in good faith.
He also prayed the court to hold that Metuh would not in any way harass or intimidate the applicant.