From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Federal High Court is presently tinkering with an idea of shifting the venue of the trial of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu so as to stop the interruption of other pending cases in court.
The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho disclosed this yesterday during a courtesy visit on him by the newly elected executives of the Abuja chapter of Nigerian Bar Association(Unity Bar).
Justice Tsoho said the court was worried by the situation where lawyers and other litigants with pending cases in courts are prevented from accessing the court by security agencies because of Kanu’s trial and is coming up with some lasting solution to the issue.
“It is a worrisome development to all of us the courts, counsel and parties,” Justice Tsoho stated.
The Judge was however quick to explain that :”Its not really the making of the court. It is something foisted on us. It is security arrangement that causes this problem. Of course, that has been necessitated because of the altitude of those who also want to witness the trial. So, you find a situation where a trial is coming up involving an individual and a whole lot of communities leave their businesses to besieged the court.
“It is worrisome, but you can’t prevent them. So how to manage it has been challenging to us. We are even trying to think of some solutions. If you observed, for those who were here yesterday(Wednesday), the matter came up, but of course, the roads were free because the matter was shifted to late afternoon.
“So the security operatives were advised not to close the access roads to the court until the time proximate to the trial. We are improving along the line. We are actually solving the problem.
“What will ultimately happen is that, we are exploring the possibility of shifting the venue of the trial. That will be the best way out, otherwise, if the trial continues here, it will interfere with our business. We have 11 courts here but it is only one court that is trying Kanu.
“And anytime the case comes up, the other courts cannot function. It is really not a good development. But I can assure you that we have actually gone far in finding a solution to it.” Justice Tsoho disclosed.
Meanwhile, the Chief judge has assured the leadership of the Unity bar of the willingness of the bench to work harmoniously with the bar.
He further promised to address the issue of impromptu adjournment of cases by judges of the court without adequate information to lawyers in the matter.
Justice Tsoho however said given the sudden changes in schedule of judges and other court officials, impromptu adjournments of cases cannot be avoided.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Unity Bar, Moses Ebute (SAN) said the courtesy visit was to acquit the Chief Judge of certain development and activities of the unity Bar and to seek a cordial working relationship between the Bar and the bench.
On his entourage were some Senior Advocates of Nigeria including Patrick Okolo (SAN), Paul Harris Ogbole (SAN), Audu Anuga (SAN), the Public Secretary, Ikem Onyenka and other executive members of the association.
Ebute further conveyed the demand of the association to have a yearly judicial calendar that would pinpoint the courts vacation periods to avoid mistaken adjournment of cases.
While lamenting on the inability of lawyers and litigants to access the court during Nnamdi Kanu’s trial, Ebute conveyed the suggestion of the association for trial to either be conducted on Saturday, via zoom or by 2pm “so that lawyers and litigants don’t suffer on account of one person’s trial.”