Monday, September 26, 2016 5:22 pm
Justice John Tsoho, the trial judge in the case of Nnamdi Kanu, has returned the case file to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta for reassignment.
Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOD) with his co-accused, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, are facing a six-count charge of treasonable felony brought against them by the federal government.
Kanu’s lead counsel, Mr Chuks Muoma (SAN), alleged at the resumed trial on Monday in Abuja, that the court was biased in the manner it had so far handled the case.
Muoma, in his application told the court that his client had petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC) over the claim.
He said that it would only be proper for the court to suspend hearing of the case pending the outcome of the investigation by the NJC.
“Following the development, all we are asking this court to do is to hands off the case since my client has lost confidence in this court; pending the outcome of the NJC investigation.
“It would not be proper for the court to continue with this matter when investigation is ongoing.
“So, in the interest of justice, I would urge the court to transfer the matter; I would suggest that it be sent back to the CJ,’’ Muoma said.
Tsoho, in a short ruling held that he has no personal interest in the case saying that since the defence lacked confidence in the court, it was only “reasonable” for the court to disqualify itself from the case.
“Accordingly, this case is hereby forwarded to the Chief Judge for further reassignment’’, Tsoho said.
It would be recalled that Kanu had written a petition against Tsoho to the NJC accusing him of “committing judicial rascality” over two rulings given against him.
In the petition signed by one of his counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, Kanu called for an investigation into the rulings of the court over the permission granted the Department of State Services (DSS) to protect its witness in his trial.
Ejiofor said the conduct of the judge in the trial of his client was a fundamental breach of his judicial oath.
Kanu also called for a correction of the actions of the judge in accordance with the Oath Act. Justice Tsoho is the second judge to disqualify himself from adjudicating the suit involving the Biafran activist. (NAN)