THE family of former national publicity secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, has said the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) rebuffed overtures by Metuh, to refund the N400million he allegedly obtained from the office to fund political activities.
Metuh is currently facing charges of corruption and money laundering slammed on him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with his health deteriorating fast.
His family disclosed in a statement signed by his younger brother, Chief Gilbert Metuh, in Abuja, on Thursday, that even when the former party spokesman offered to refund the money, it was rejected and he had been subjected to inhumane treatment unlike other suspects with similar cases.
They alerted that his life was now in danger owing to a problem with his spinal cord aggravated in detention.
The family statement said: “May we also point out that since his arrest and even up to about a week ago, our son has made several overtures to the arresting authority for him to refund the money since they now claim in court that it came from government coffers. All efforts have been unsuccessful.
“It is instructive that out of over 300 names listed as having received money from the ONSA, all those who offered to refund money were not arraigned in court.
“Our son is the only one whose offer to refund money was rejected and has been arraigned in court and his case given accelerated hearing. On each trial date, the hostility in the courtroom is palpable.
“As we speak to you, the offer to refund the money to the Federal Government is still open and the government is yet to accept the offer. It is, therefore, clear to us that the intention is not the recovery of funds, but a clear persecution of our son.”
Narrating the effort to refund the money which he was accused of diverting, the statement revealed that in December 2015, when the issue of the N400 million came up and Metuh was invited by the ONSA, he wasted no time reporting there.
According to the statement, he then made inquires regarding the source of the money “with a clear statement to ONSA that if the source of the money is from government coffers, he was willing to refund accordingly not minding that the money has been expended as directed by the former president. At that time, ONSA did not make the necessary clarifications.”
It said despite the offer to make the refund, he was kept in detention for 22 days.
The statement continued: “Nigerians are aware that of all the people who have been facing the predicament of having worked for either the PDP or the previous Federal Government, our son has been the only one that was brought to court in handcuffs, paraded as a common criminal and treated without any dignity whatsoever.
“Eventually our son was granted bail under one of the most stringent conditions ever in the history of our country.
“Fortunately, we were able to meet the bail conditions and our son has been facing trial since then. He has been cooperating with the judiciary and done all required of him in the course of the trial.”
On Metuh’s illness, the statement disclosed that he was diagnosed with a spinal cord problem in 2004.
It said he had consistently managed it over this period but “due to the treatments he received while in custody, the situation got aggravated.
“In the course of his trial, the situation deteriorated, especially after he fell at a meeting in the party office for which he was rushed to the National Hospital and was admitted in the Intensive Care Unit.’’