Lagos-based lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, says he is withdrawing the suit he filed on Monday to challenge the continued detention of the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Metuh has been in the EFCC custody since January 5, 2016, where he is being questioned over his alleged involvement in the diversion and sharing of the $2.1bn arms funds by a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
Metuh was said to have pocketed N400m out of the said funds earmarked for the purchase of arms to fight the Boko Haram insurgency.
But on Monday, Adegboruwa, who claimed that Metuh’s arrest and detention was part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s grand plan to silence the opposition, approached the Federal High Court in Lagos and asked that Metuh be immediately released from custody.
The lawyer had argued that Metuh’s fundamental rights enshrined in sections 33, 34, 35, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43 and 44 of the Constitution were being violated.
But in a statement made available to our correspondent on Thursday morning, Adegboruwa, however, said he had reviewed the situation and had filed a notice to the court to discontinue the suit.
He explained that since filing the suit on Monday he had been inundated with calls from across the country by people who wondered whether he was against Buhari’s anti-graft war.
He, however, said he was not against the anti-corruption war but only that it must be fought within the ambit of the rule of law.
He said he filed the suit in consonance with his unwavering belief that the rule of law must be obeyed, adding that he had neither never met Metuh before nor received instruction or money from him to file the suit.
The statement read in part, “Since filing this suit, I have received several telephone calls from colleagues, friends and well wishers, some congratulating me for the ‘fat’ brief, some criticising me, some seeking explanations and some others commending and encouraging me.
“The truth is that I have never met Chief Metuh before and I did not receive a dime from him, or from anyone else, to file the suit. I did so based upon my conviction, that it was wrong to arrest a citizen of Nigeria, lock him up in custody and be boasting that he will not be released or charged to court.
“My intervention on behalf of Chief Metuh, is not to shield him from his trial, if found wanting, but rather that as the voice of the opposition in Nigeria, he should not be cowed or silenced, without following due process.
“Through Chief Metuh, Nigerians have had the benefit of hearing the other side of the sweet stories of change, that the Buhari regime has been feeding us with.”
Adegboruwa added that he later discovered that Metuh himself had earlier filed a similar suit in Abuja.
He said he was not a Metuh’s crony, adding that if Buhari himself left office and is being unfairly treated he would equally defend him.
“It would seem now that Chief Metuh is finding a common ground with the EFCC, in the light of the revelations coming forth, in relation to his case and the promise to arraign him in court.
“I support the anti-corruption war of this administration, when it is done in accordance with the rule of law.
My intervention in securing reprieve for victims of human rights abuses, is not novel to Chief Metuh’s case,” Adegboruwa said.