Justice John Tsoho of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday September 26, returned the case file of the Leader, Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, for reassignment.
Punch reported that Kanu and his co-accused persons, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi are facing a six-count charge of treasonable felony, brought against them by the Federal Government.
At the resumed trial, the lead counsel for Kanu, Chuks Muoma (SAN), brought an application alleging that the court was biased in the manner it had been handling the matter.
It was gathered that he informed the court that since his client had written a petition to the National Judicial Council, it would be proper for the court to suspend the hearing of the case, pending the outcome of investigation by the NJC.
According to him, the NJC has responded to the petition filed by Kanu against the judge, saying they were investigating the allegation.
Muoma said, “We are only asking the court to withdraw from the case; my client has lost confidence in this court. Following the development, all we are asking this court to do is to withdraw from the case, pending the outcome of the NJC investigation.
“It would not be proper for the court to continue with this matter when investigation is ongoing. So, in the interest of justice, we are asking the court to withdraw from the case. I would urge the court to transfer the matter; I would suggest that it be sent back to the CJ.”
He alleged that the court was acting in line with the alleged suggestion of President Muhammadu Buhari that Kanu was not going to be released under any circumstance.
Justice Tsoho in a short ruling, held that he had no personal interest in the trial of Kanu and had decided to returned case file to the CJ, Ibrahim Auta.
The judge also condemned the attitude of the defence counsel, saying he acted unprofessionally through his utterances and added that he did not care if he took the case to another planet.
Justice Tsoho ruled that since the defence counsel noted lack of confidence in the way the court had handled the case, “it is only reasonable for the court to disqualify itself from further hearing the matter.
“Accordingly, this case is hereby forwarded to the Chief Judge for further re-assignment,” the judge ruled.
He said logically the procedure would have been for the court to wait for the response of the NJC so as not to preempt the NJC’s decision.
THE PUNCH had reported that Kanu had told the NJC to commence the investigation of Justice John Tsoho, for allegedly delivering two different rulings on the same issue raised during his trial.
The IPOB leader in the petition by his lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, to the NJC against Justice Tsoho, called for an investigation into the rulings of the court over the permission granted the Department of State Services to protect its witness in his trial.
Kanu said the conduct of the judge in his trial amounted to a fundamental breach of his judicial oath.
According to him, the two rulings contradicted each other and were made in the same court by the same judge.
Kanu, who is currently facing trial on a three-count charge of treasonable felony, management of an unlawful society and concealing goods in a container, was arrested by the operatives of the DSS in Lagos on his arrival from the United Kingdom on October 14, 2015.