The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives on Tuesday threatened to drag the Federal Government to International Criminal Court (ICC) over continued detention of Olisa Metuh, PDP national publicity secretary.
Leo Ogor, minority leader in the House of Representatives, who issued the threat notice at a press briefing, held at the National Assembly complex, Abuja, however, gave 48-hour ultimatum to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to release Metuh.
Ogor, who accused President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration of being authoritarian, stressed the need for the anti-graft agency to arraign Metuh before a court of competent jurisdiction.
“We want to lay emphasis on due process; we want to state with all emphasis that we are not in support of corrupt attitude or actions. I will lay emphasis on due process and the rule of law and the issue here again is the arrest, the voice of the PDP, who is Chief Olisa Metuh.
“Olisah Metuh as you are all aware has been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission which is going to the 10th day this man has been incarcerated.
“For us here laws of our land stipulate detaining a person for specific hours. Here we are looking at a scenario or a situation where Olisa Metuh is held for 10 days. Our grudge is that he be taken before a competent court of jurisdiction or be given an administrative bail.
“On this same issue that borders on the transfer of funds, who was also arrested on the same subject matter, Isa Jafaru, was detained by the EFCC and in less than 8 hours was given administrative bail after the chairman of the EFCC visited Aso Rock.
“That gives room for some level of preferential treatment or that stipulate some level of political witch-hunt, a scenario or situation where we must all be equal before the law, it cannot be different strokes for different folks.
“We are not saying that somebody is guilty but it is not in our position, and I repeat not in the position or any other person but a competent jurisdiction to pronounce anybody guilty.
“It is not we that authored the laws; it is the laws of the land a scenario where we give some level to authoritarianism create danger to our democracy.”
The PDP caucus leader, who decried the action of the EFCC, noted that the long detention of Metuh negates the principle of the laws that run the commission and tantamount to pronouncing him guilty before trial.
“As a voice of the voiceless we have emphasised continuously that we want the administration of Buhari to succeed but we also make sure that the rule of law is expected, any action or act of the administration carrying on some form of political witch-hunt against our party will not be accepted.
“If Olisah Metuh is found guilty by a competent court of jurisdiction he should face the law, but in a scenario where somebody sits down in his office who lacks the administrative powers to pronounce him guilty and take the fact that they keep him there is totally unacceptable in our interest or in the interest of our democracy,
“As a House we condemn it totally and we insist that within the next 48 hours Olisah Metuh should be given administrative bail or be taken before a competent law of jurisdiction where he can be tried and if pronounced guilty be made to face the consequence.
“First and foremost, we will adopt all democratic process and principles in making sure we make our case known very well to the public, and if there is the need for us to go to the international community also we will take those various steps.
“Democratic system guarantees on fundamental rights and where somebody’s fundamental right is being breached it’s either we head to a competent court of jurisdiction, but bring some of these abnormalities and unacceptable practises before the international community.
“Our rights must always be respected. There is room for opposition, there is no way you can have any government without the opposition. The voice of opposition must always be respected, where our main voice has been arrested and been detained without any trial kept in an underground cell, is totally undemocratic. They cannot be the persecutor and the judge at the same time.
“EFCC lacks the power to say refund money, it is the courts, if he was asked to use those money for specific assignment, if he has said he has used the money and it is not there, it is now for him to defend his action in a competent court of law. It’s not a treasonable felony, he is entitled to bail,” Ogor maintained.