By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court in Abuja, on Monday, disqualified himself from presiding over the trial of detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu.
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, 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 was released to him.