Judge withdraws from trial of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu

Nnamdi Kanu

Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court on Wednesday excused himself from hearing the treason charges brought against leader of the separatist Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB),  Nnamdi Kanu.

Mohammed announced his decision to withdraw after Kanu objected to the case, saying it was needless, as the federal government had repeatedly disobeyed previous court rulings.

The Federal Government had on Tuesday slapped fresh six-count charges against Kanu over treason and managing the affairs of an unlawful society at the Federal High Court in Abuja. He is accused of plotting to split Nigeria, by creating a Biafra Republic with south east, south south states, and parts of Kogi and Benue states, as component units.

Two others, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, were charged along with Kanu, who is also the operator of Radio Biafra.

The main accused told the court before commencement of the prosecution’s plea that he preferred being held in the detention, than subjecting himself to a trial, which outcome will not be respected.

He said his previous trials had various outcomes that were abused or neglected by the Department of State Service (DSS).

Counsel to the prosecution, who is also the Federal Director of Prosecution, office of the Attorney General, Mohamed Diri, told the court that based on section  396 (2) of the constitution, the defendant had no right to object to being tried by the court until after the plea is heard.

However, Justice Mohammed who said he was opting out of the case also countered the prosecution counsels, saying that Kanu had the right to reject the trial, “after all justice is rooted on confidence.”

“If any of the parties has no confidence in the court, he has the right to say so”, Mr. Mohammed ruled. He noted that the prosecution would have done the same thing if they were in Kanu’s shoes. “Assuming it was the prosecution, if they had no confidence in the court of jurisdiction; would they not have done so?” “I hereby remit the case file to the honourable chief judge of this court to reassign it,” the judge ruled.

“I hereby remit the case file to the honourable chief judge of this court to reassign it,” Mohammed said.