Former leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu has brought a motion before a Federal High Court, Abuja, Monday, urging the trial Judge presiding over his case, to step down.
A defence counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, demanded that the trial Judge, Justice John Tsoho to hands-off the matter on ground that the Judge has been biased against his client.
Ejiofor said among others, “That the Honourable Court had in the course of its ruling delivered on 26th of April, 2016, openly expressed serious prejudice against a member of the defence team.”
According to him, “there is a manifest case of bias against the court, which complaint is also a subject of scrutiny by the National Judicial Counsel, currently probing the allegations of misconduct and manifest bias against the court in charge”
He alluded that due to the “ugly trend recorded during proceedings”, the Judge should step down.
In a sworn affidavit, the defence team said: “That following some ugly trend recorded by the defence team in the course of proceedings in this charge, which bordered on the conduct of the court, a complaint was formally lodged with the National Judicial Council to investigate the alleged complaints.
“That to this end, a formal complaint letter was sent to the National Judicial Counsel by the defence, on the 26day of April, 2016, which was subsequently accompanied by verifying affidavit on oath, dated the 24th day of May, 2016”
After listening to the motion on notice, the Judge adjourned to September 26 for trial of the case.
However, a drama played out before the commencement of proceedings, when a new counsel appeared for the second defendant, Benjamin Madubugwu.
Amoebic Nzelu has announced his appearance for Madubugwu, when the lead defence counsel, Chucks Muoma, said he was not aware of the change of counsel.
“My lord I am the lead counsel in this matter and courtesy demands that the introduction of a new counsel should be made with my consent.
“I am a very busy counsel. I am not chasing the priest, the priest is chasing me. If this counsel had come in to be lead counsel, it will be a different case, but he is coming to take away one of my clients. Until this clarifications are made, my further appearance is forestalled.
“I cannot do the wrong thing after almost 45 years at the bar. My conscience cannot allow me to pretend.”
The new counsel, Amoebi Nzelu, however explained how he became counsel to Madubugwu.
He apologised to Muoma, noting he holds him in high esteem.