(Godwin Tsa, ABUJA)
Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu has asked another judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, to recuse himself from the bench on account of bias.
This will be the second time Kanu will be accusing a judge of the Federal High Court of bias.
The first judge asked to be recused was Justice Ahmed Mohammed.
Kanu’s motion, including the abrupt change of counsel by the second defendant, Benjamin Madubugwu, yesterday stalled his treason and felony trial.
When the matter came up before Justice Tsoho on Monday, prosecution counsel Shuaibu Labaran informed the court that he was, “confronted this morning with the motion clearly framed by the defendants to frustrate the proceeding of this court.”
Tsoho said he needed time to respond to it.
Although the motion was not moved, the document in court prayed for, “an order disqualifying itself from further proceeding in this matter” on the grounds of bias against the defendants.
It stated that a formal complaint letter had been sent to the National Judicial Council with an exhibit marked NJ1 and NJ2 illustrating a manifest case of bias in the conduct of the case and other issues that are inappropriate mentioned in an affidavit.
The motion also stated that the court had in the course of its ruling delivered on the 26 April, 2016, openly expressed serious prejudice against a member of the defense team.
But before Justice Tsoho on Monday, Chuks Muoma (SAN), the lead defence counsel, announced a conditional appearance for Nnamdi Kanu and David Nwawuisi. He said his protest was on the ground that he had a contrary instruction on his arrival in court different from his earlier brief on the matter.
Muoma complained that he needed 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.”
The 2nd defendant, Benjamin Madubugwu, confirmed before the court that Amobi Nzelu – who announced appearance – was his counsel. Even as that resolved the issue of representation, counsel in the matter agreed that Nzelu also needed time to study the case file and arrive at a decision as to whether or not to ally with the motion seeking to disqualify the judge.
With the consent of the parties, the matter was adjourned till September 26 for hearing of the motion and trial.