Judge Steps Down From Kanu’s Trial

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An Abuja Federal High Court Judge, John Tsoho, has stepped down from the trial of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.

Tsoho is the second judge to do so following Justice Ahmed Mohammed’s decision to hands off the case in December 2015, after Kanu said he had no confidence in him.

The IPOB leader was charged with treason, accused by the federal government of  leading a separatist group.

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He has been in detention since October 2015.

Kanu had written a petition to the National Judicial Council against Justice Tsoho whom he accused of “judicial rascality”, calling on the council to investigate him.

In the petition, Kanu’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, asked the council to investigate the trial judge for giving parallel judgements on the same request.

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Ejiofor said that Tsoho had 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 court session on Monday, another counsel to Kanu, Chuks Muoma, noted that it would amount to a great disservice if Tsoho should continue presiding over the case since there was a petition against him, before the NJC.

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Consequently, Justice Tsoho announced he was stepping down, pending the decision of the council.

He added, however, that “Even if I am cleared of any bias by the NJC, I will not continue with this case.”