The judge handling Nnamdi Kanu’s trial, Justice John Tsoho, has returned the case file of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, to the Chief Justice of Federal High Court, Ibrahim Auta, for reassignment.
This followed an application by the Chuks Muoma-led legal team of Kanu, claiming that the judge was biased in his handling of their client’s trial over treason charges levelled against him by the federal government for leading a separatist group.
“We are only asking the court to hands off; my client has lost confidence in this court,” Muoma said.
Tsoho is the second judge to do so in the case of Kanu, who has been in detention since October 2015. The first judge in the case, Ahmed Mohammed, stepped down in December 2015, after Kanu said he had no confidence in him.
In a new petition to the National Judicial Council, NJC, Kanu accused Justice Tsoho of “judicial rascality” and called for his investigation by the council.
In the petition made available to newsmen in Abuja on Sunday, Kanu through his lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, asked the council to investigate Mr. Tsoho for giving parallel judgements on the same request.
Ejiofor said after Tsoho decided in favour of the defence in an application for the protection of witnesses by the prosecution, and later ruled in favour of the prosecution, without seeking the permission of a higher court.
At the opening of session on Monday, another counsel to Kanu, Chuks Muoma, said the continuation of the matter by Tsoho would amount to a great disservice since there was a petition against him, before the NJC.
Tsoho announced he had stepped down, pending the decision of the council.
“Even if I am cleared of any bias by the NJC, I will not continue with this case,” he said.