Fresh motion on judge to disqualify self stalls Kanu’s trial

Nnamdi Kanu

Nnamdi Kanu

The trial of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, was stalled yesterday following a fresh motion seeking to disqualify Justice John Tsoho from presiding over the trial as well as abrupt change of counsel by the second defendant, Benjamin Madubugwu.

At the resumed hearing before Justice Tsoho of the Federal High Court, the prosecution counsel, Shuaibu Labaran, informed the court that he was “confronted this morning with a motion clearly framed by the defendants to frustrate the proceeding of this court.”

He further told the court that he needed time to respond to the motion.While the motion was not moved, it prayed the Court for “an order, disqualifying itself from further proceeding in this matter” on the ground of bias against the defendants.

It stated that a formal complaint letter had been sent to the National Judicial Council (NJC) with exhibits marked, NJ1 and NJ2, illustrating manifest cases of bias in the conduct of the trial and other issues that were inappropriate to be mentioned in the affidavit.

The motion also stated that the Court had in the course of its ruling delivered on April 26, openly expressed serious prejudice against a member of the defense team.

Thus, before Justice Tsoho yesterday, the lead defence counsel, Chuks Muoma (SAN), announced a conditional appearance for Nnamdi Kanu and David Nwawuisi.
He point was that he had a contrary instruction on his arrival in court different from his earlier brief on the matter.

He complained that he needed a confirmation on the ‘extraction’ of the second defendant, Benjamin Madubugwu from the list of his clients.He said, “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 and until that is done, my further appearances will be conditional.”

The second defendant, Madubugwu, had confirmed before the court that Amobi Nzelu, who announced appearance, was his counsel.With that resolved, Nzelu also expressed the need for some time to study the case file and arrive at a decision whether or not to agree with the motion seeking to disqualify the judge.

With the consent of the parties involved in the matter, the trial was adjourned till September 26, for hearing of the motion as well as continuation of trial.

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