A mild drama played out at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday when a judge stood down from hearing treason charges brought by the government against the director of Radio Biafra and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed announced the decision after Mr. Kanu objected to the case, saying it was needless, as the federal government had repeatedly disobeyed previous court rulings granting him bail.
In the latest charges brought against him, the federal government is accusing Kanu, who holds dual citizenship of Nigeria and the U.K 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.
The accused, who was arraigned before Justice Mohammed Wednesday, told the judge before commencement of the prosecution’s plea that he preferred being held in detention than subjecting himself to a trial, which outcome he noted, would not be respected by the government.
According to Kanu, the office of the State Security Service, SSS, had abused or neglected the outcomes of his previous trials.
He, therefore, stated his outright objection to the trial in the court.
Rejecting his objection to trial in the court, 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 until after the plea is heard.
After listening to both sides, Justice Mohammed said he was standing down from the case, saying Mr. 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.
The judge opined 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”, Justice Mohammed said.