LESS than 24 hours after the leadership of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, called on Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, to, with immediate effect, hands off Nnamdi Kanu’s trial because his alleged compromise, Justice Tsoho yesterday disqualified himself from presiding over the trial of detained IPOB leader. Kanu, who has been in detention since October 14, 2015, is answering to a six- count treason charge alongside two other pro-Biafra agitators, David Nwawusi and Benjamin Madubugwu.
At the resumed sitting on the matter yesterday, Justice
Tsoho who earlier denied the defendants bail, premised his decision to hands-off the matter on a petition pending against him before the National Judicial Council, NJC. The judge in a bench ruling held that it was in the best interest of justice that he stepped aside from the trial, considering the weight of allegations the defendants levelled against him before the NJC. Kanu and his co-accused persons had in a joint petition they filed through their lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, told the NJC that Justice Tsoho indulged in act of “judicial rascality” by delivering conflicting rulings on the same subject matter. They alleged that the judge summarily reversed his previous ruling that barred the federal government from masking all the witnesses billed to testify against them. They maintained that Justice Tsoho, having ruled on the issue, ought not have reversed himself and granted the same application, an action they said should have been taken by the appellate court. More so, the defendants alleged that the trial judge denied them fair hearing on the day he gave the prosecution the nod to produce “masquerades” to testify against them. Kanu told the NJC that Justice Tsoho frustrated efforts by his lawyers to obtain copies of his rulings, as well as the record of proceedings of the court. He said that it took the
intervention of the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, before the rulings and record of proceedings in the matter were released to him. Meanwhile, in a statement jointly issued by IPOB spokesmen, Barr. Emma Mmezu and Dr. Clifford Iroanya, the pro-Biafra group earlier posited that Justice Tsoho was being teleguided in the case and should distance himself f forthwith from the case. The statement reads in part: “The Hon. Justice John Terhemba Tsoho, born 24th of June 1959, must hands-off Nnamdi Kanu’s case as the trial judge. “In addition, he must turn- in his resignation in order to prevent unavoidable dismissal
by the National Judicial Council, NJC. “Already, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, the Hon. Justice Mahmud Mohammed has sounded a note of warning to judges like Hon. John Tsoho that they shall be punished for their judicial somersaults and miscarriage of justice. Based on available evidence and facts related to the ongoing court case involving the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, we believe that the most honourable thing for Hon. Justice John Tsoho to do is to excuse himself from the case as the trial Judge as well as turn-in his resignation to avoid being axed for impropriety on the job,” the statement admonished.


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