The Judge presiding over Kanu’s trial at the high court today returned the case file of the leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu to the Chief Judge for re-assignment.
Justice Tsoho is now the second judge to wash hands off Nnamdi Kanu’s case.
The first judge in the case, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, stepped down in December 2015, after Mr. Kanu said he had no confidence in him.
In a new petition to the National Judicial Council, NJC, signed by his counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, Mr. Kanu accused Justice Tsoho of “judicial rascality.”
He urged the council to investigate Justice Tsoho for deciding in favour of the defense (Department of State Services).
This was filed 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 the session on Monday, Kanu’s lead counsel, Chuks Muoma (SAN) told the court that it will only be appropriate for the court to suspend hearing of the case pending the outcome of investigation of the Nigerian Judicial Council (NJC).
Justice Tsoho Washes Hands Off Kanu’s Case
He informed the court that the NJC has responded to the petition filed by Kanu against the judge, saying they are investigating the matter.
Justice Tsoho therefore, ruled that since the defense counsel noted a lack of confidence in the way the court is handling the case, “it is only reasonable this court recuses itself from further hearing on the matter.
The jusdge ruled:
“Accordingly, this case is hereby forwarded to the Chief Judge for further re-assignment.”
He said, logically, the procedure would have been for the court to wait for the response of the NJC so as not to preempt NJC’s decision.
He added that “even if I am cleared of any bias by the NJC, I will not continue with this case”.
Mr. Kanu is facing treason charges brought by the Nigerian government for leading a separatist group and has been in detention since October 2015.