His voice conveyed the seriousness of the message. Silence ruled the entire court room. Pin-drop silence. Again, he roared like a wounded lion or like a village headmaster whose order must be obeyed. His Lordship, the alpha and omega of his court, was furious and both counsels and litigants knew. “Turn and face the wall,” he ordered. Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has disciplined one of the lawyers appearing before him for not dressing properly. National Mirror findings revealed that the lawyer who was billed to appear before Justice Abang was robed but failed to put on his wig. The judge on sighting him shouted immediately, “Why are you dressed that way in my court?
“Turn and face the wall, turn and face the wall I said, why are you dressed like that in my court. I will use you as example for others who are in the habit of not dressing properly The lawyer’s bid to plead for mercy fell on deaf ears. A senior advocate, Chief Akin Olujimi, however, came to his rescue by pleading on his behalf before he was pardoned.
He said, “My lord, please pardon him. With what you have done today, the message has been passed. “The young ones seated before you have seen what has happened today, I am sure there won’t be a re-occurrence. There is serious need to instill discipline in them” he said. After Chief Olujimi’s plea, the lawyer was pardoned. It would be recalled that Justice Abang was transferred from the Lagos Division of the Federal High court to Abuja early last year. Since his resumption, he has been handling very high profile corruption cases including that of the former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh (rtd) who is facing N3.97 billion fraud.
He is being prosecuting alongside a firm, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited, on a10-count charge of money laundering bordering on alleged fraudulent removal of about N3.97 billion from the Nigerian Air Force’s account by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The anti-graft agency accused Badeh of using the fund to buy and develop landed assets in Abuja for himself and two sons between January and December 2013. Another popular figure facing trial before him is the immediate past National publicity secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Olisa Metuh.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is prosecuting Metuh and his company, Destra Investments Limited, on charges including fraudulent collection of N400m from the Office of the National Security Adviser in November 2014 and using same for PDP’s presidential campaign. Metuh and Destra Investments Limited are also being tried on charges of money laundering involving alleged cash transaction of $2m.
He had refused an application filed by Metuh Seeking its leave to travel to the United Kingdom for medical treatment. Justice Abang while delivering ruling on the application held that there was fear that if Metuh was allowed to travel abroad, he may abscond and will not be available to face trial.
The judge dismissed the application and held that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain Metuh’s application hence there was a subsisting order directing Metuh to deposit his international passport with the chief registrar of the high court as part of his bail conditions. Metuh is currently undergoing medical attention at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital.