Biafra leader and founder of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and two of his associates have accused an Abuja Federal High Court judge,
The trio, who were arraigned before Justice Tsoho on January 20, 2016 for treason, are seeking transfer of the case to a new judge.
As contained in the notice of appeal and motion of stay of proceedings filed by the defendants today, March 9, Kanu had last year told another Federal High Court judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, that he did not trust him to ensure justice in his trial.
Kanu's statement forced Justice Mohammed to withdraw from the case and returned the case file to the court’s Chief Judge, Justice Ibrahim Auta, who later reassigned the case to Tsoho.
Kanu and two others were arraigned before Justice Tsoho on six counts of treasonable felony, unlawful possession of firearms and other offences bordering on their agitation for secession of the Republic of Biafra from Nigeria.
Justice Tsoho, who on Monday, March 7, granted an oral application by the prosecution to allow the shielding of its witnesses from public glare in view of threat to their lives.
In an initial ruling, he had rejected the prosecution’s request to have its witnesses wear mask. But the judge made a U-turn on Monday allowed the the shielding of the prosecution’s witness.
Kanu's lawyer, Chuks Muoma (SAN), had argued against the decision, insisting on a prior demonstration of the witness’ shielding procedure before it could be applied.
The defendants argued that the judge granted the prosecution’s oral application without jurisdiction, and thereby “occasioning a miscarriage of justice”.
“That the court had manifested serious bias in the conduct of this trial, which is gravely impeding the defendants’ constitutional rights to fair hearing/trial,” the notice of appeal filed by Kanu and others read in part.
Justice Tsoho has adjourned to April 4 for the hearing of the motion for stay of proceeding pending appeal.