Alex Enumah in Abuja
The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafria (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has for the second time filed a motion requesting Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court in Abuja trying him for treasonable felony to disqualify himself from the matter.
Kanu and two others are currently being prosecuted by the federal government on a six-count bordering on treasonable felony. They accused Justice Tsoho of bias in the manner he has so far presided over the trial.
He is therefore asking the judge to disqualify himself from the matter.
The motion alongside the appearance of a new counsel for the 2nd defendant, Benjamin Madubugwu however stalled the trial.
At the resumed trial monday, prosecution counsel Shuaibu Labaran told the court that he was confronted this morning with the motion clearly framed by the defendants to frustrate the proceeding of this court.
Labaran told Justice Tsoho he would need some time to respond to it.
Although the motion was not moved, however, the document in court prayed for “an order disqualifying itself from further proceeding in this matter “on the grounds of bias against the defendants.
The motion noted that a formal complaint letter had been sent to the National Judicial Council with exhibits marked NJ1 and NJ2 showing concrete evidence of bias in the conduct of the case and other issues that are inappropriate to mentioned in an affidavit.
The motion further claimed that the court had in the course of its ruling delivered on the April 26, 2016 openly expressed serious prejudice against a member of the defense team.
In a new twist in the matter, counsel to the accused persons, Chuks Muoma (SAN), announced a conditional appearance for Nnamdi Kanu and David Nwawuisi.
He said his protest was on the grounds that he had a contrary instruction on his arrival in court different from his earlier brief on the matter.
He complained that he needs a confirmation on the ‘extraction’ of the 2nd defendant Benjamin Madubugwu from the list of his clients.
“My conscience will make it impossible for me to pretend I did not take the instruction. I am the only counsel in this matter I would like to clarify this embarrassment until that is done my further appearances will be conditional,” he said.
At the resumed hearing, Amobi Nzelu had announced appearance for the 2nd defendant, Madubugwu and was confirmed by him.
After the matter was resolved, counsel in the matter agreed that Nzelu would need time to study the case file and arrive at a decision whether or not to alien with the motion seeking to disqualify the judge.
With the consent of the parties Justice Tsoho then adjourned hearing on the motion to 26 September.
The IPOB leader had earlier filed a similar motion against Justice Ahmed Mohammed, following which the case was transferred to Justice Tsoho.