Reports suggesting that a doctor’s letter submitted to a Federal High Court, Abuja, by a former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, is fake and incorrect, DUBAWA can report today.
The UK chapter of the All Progressives Congress had written to the Wellington Hospital, London, enquiring about the authenticity of a letter by Dr. Adrian Casey, a consultant neurosurgeon, accepting to treat Mr. Metuh for spinal cord injury.
In the letter, Mr. Casey had given his address as “The Wellington Hospital, Wellington Place, St John’s Wood Road, London.”
Mr. Metuh had filed the letter as part of the medical report he submitted to the trial court while asking Justice Okon Abang to grant him leave to travel abroad for treatment. The politician is on trial for allegedly diverting N400 million from the office of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
But in a response to the UK APC, John Reay, the CEO of Wellington Hospital, simply said, “We cannot comment on individual patients or pass on confidential information to third parties. We do not employ consultants at the Wellington and therefore cannot respond on behalf of Dr. Casey. We have passed your correspondence to Dr. Casey for his information.”
The APC was quick in posting Mr. Reay’s letter to its twitter timeline. It also tweeted at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission asking the agency to note that “Wellington Hospital is not aware of a letter tendered in court and Dr. Casey appears to be a private consultant.”
That post soon went viral, with some Nigerian websites generating reports from it and claiming Wellington Hospital had disowned Mr. Metuh’s letter. Some claimed they had busted Mr. Metuh for lying to the court, and that he should be tried for perjury
Our checks indicate that Dr. Casey has a subsisting affiliation with Wellington Hospital. He is listed on the hospital’s website as one of its medical personnel, although his base hospital was given as the UK National Hospital for Neurology, where he is on call Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday every week.
Responding to an enquiry by this medium, Emma Ley, an official of Wellington Hospital, said Mr. Casey consults at the hospital on Mondays and Fridays. Mr. Ley proceeded to provide the contact details of the doctor’s secretary in case this reporter wanted to book an appointment to meet him in Wellington.
So while Dr. Casey may not be a full-time employee of Wellington, he has affiliation with and consults regularly at the facility.
We also sent a copy of Mr. Metuh’s letter to Dr. Casey asking if it indeed originated from him.
In his response, the doctor did not deny writing the letter, although he indicated his reluctance to comment on his patients to third parties. He advised the Federal High Court to, on its own, investigate Mr. Metuh’s condition if it is in any doubt about the content of the letter and the medical report attached to it.
“… It would be a straightforward matter for the Nigerian courts to examine the individual and check any scans via a suitably qualified neurosurgeon or neurologist,” the doctor said.
We also contacted Dr. Raymond Onwuelo, a Nigerian UK-based senior medical officer, who referred Mr. Metuh to Dr. Casey, and to which the latter’s letter was addressed. Dr. Onwuelo said as Mr. Metuh’s doctor, it was him who, having reviewed the PDP chieftain’s condition, contacted Dr. Casey to help. He said he simply forwarded the neurosurgeon’s letter to Mr. Metuh so he could add it to the documentation he needed to press for permission to travel.
“Dr. Casey reviewed Mr. Metuh’s scans, and he said he needed to come to London immediately,” Dr. Onwuelo said. “My concern about all this controversy about the letter is that his condition might deteriorate and he might suffer a permanent damage to his spine.”
The doctor’s letter submitted by Mr. Metuh to the Federal High Court is authentic and the resultant controversy is more of hair splitting. The claim that Dr. Casey, who signed it, has no affiliation with Wellington Hospital is also false.
Musikilu Mojeed, award-winning investigative journalist, was until 2011 Investigative Editor at Nigeria’s NEXT newspaper. A former John S. Knight International Fellow at Stanford University and Ford Foundation International Fellow at The City University of New York, he has reported extensively on corruption, human rights and human trafficking and is one of Africa’s most regarded investigative journalists.