JUST IN: Jonathan told Metuh how to share N400m – Witness

A witness, Mr. Richard Ihediwa, in the ongoing trial of former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisah Metuh, said on Thursday that the N400m Metuh got was disbursed as directed by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

Ihediwa, led in evidence by the counsel to Metuh, Mr. Emeka Etiaba (SAN), told the Abuja High Court that Jonathan gave the directive on how the amount was to be spent.

He said that N21m was paid to former PDP Chairman, Chief Tony Anenih, for a property acquired for use by the party as its media intervention centre.

He added that although the property, located in Asokoro area of Abuja, did not belong to Anenih, he assisted the PDP media team headed by the accused in securing it.

He said, “The amount covered the cost of hiring the structure, utility vehicles as well as security gadgets at the centre.”

The witness also told the court that various sums were paid to some groups coordinated by some government functionaries, including the late Oronto Douglas and Abbah Dabo.

He said he was not very certain about the amount released to late Douglas, but added that N25m was released to Dabo as mobilisation fee for advocacy groups, in line with the directive.

Ihediwa said the former president also approved different amounts for some other groups and Metuh disbursed the funds to them accordingly.

He said because of the tension and high level of insecurity across the six geo-political regions of the country then, there was the need for government to mobilise various advocacy groups to stabilise the system.

Meanwhile, Justice Okon Abang has reserved ruling for November 15 on applications filed by the defence counsel.

Metuh Wrote EFCC, Ready To Return N400m – Counsel

The immediate past National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Olisa Metuh’s lead defence counsel, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), has said his client has told the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that he is willing to return the N400m he allegedly received from the Office of the National Security Adviser in November, 2014.

Metuh is currently being prosecuted by the EFCC for allegedly receiving the money, which the prosecution alleged was collected from the $2.1bn arms funds allegedly diverted by the former NSA’s office to other purposes aside from buying arms to fight insurgency.

The money was said to have been released to him to launder the alleged bad image of former President Goodluck Jonathan a few months to the 2015 presidential election which Jonathan eventually lost.

Metuh lost his bid at the FCT High Court to secure his passport to enable him to travel abroad for a check-up.

Ikpeazu, in a telephone interview on Thursday, said Metuh had always indicated to the EFCC that he was willing to return the money right from when the anti-graft agency invited him for questioning before charges were filed against him.

The lawyer said he advised Metuh after his trial began before a Federal High Court in Abuja to write a letter to the EFCC, indicating his intention to return the N400m, which he stated the former PDP spokesperson heeded.

He insisted that Metuh initially thought the money came from former President Goodluck Jonathan but readily indicated to return the money as soon as the EFCC made him to realise the money was from the ONSA.

Credit: Punch

2 Fire Fighters Die, N400m Goods Destroyed In Onitsha Midnight Fire

Tears flowed freely yesterday at the Ochanja ultra modern market, Onitsha as a Sunday midnight fire   ravaged the shoe dealers’ section of the market destroying goods worth over N400million.

Unfortunately, two fire fighters from Okpoko Fire Service Station died while trying to put out the fire even as traders in other sections of the market closed their shops in solidarity yesterday.

Giving an insight into the incident, Chairman of Ochanja Shoe Dealers Association, Chief Nwabueze Umeh told Daily Sun that a mysterious fire started in a shop within the market at 5 p.m. on Sunday but they were able to quench the fire and went back home only to get another news at about 2 a.m. that another fire started in a different section of the market.

He said they immediately contacted men of the Okpoko Fire Station, who quickly mobilised to the scene but while they were at work, a decking slab from the shops caved in and killed one of the fire fighters instantly while the other had his spine broken. He died at the hospital where he was  taken to for treatment. Umeh noted further that the tragedy which befell the fire fighters stalled further efforts to put out the fire leading to the destruction of many shops with goods estimated at N400 million lost to the inferno.

Governor Willie Obiano visited the market yesterday morning and promised to provide fire-fighting equipment to the traders and also assist victims.

Two of the affected traders, Boniface Amaizu from Oraifite and Iloduba John Kennedy told Daily Sun  that they were alerted on phone at about  3 a.m. while they were in the village that Sunday but before they could get to the market by 4a.m, their shops and their entire goods had been consumed by t he fire.

Credit: Sun