The trial of Nnamdi Kanu, the self-styled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), took a new dimension on Wednesday as he expressed objection to the fresh six-count criminal charge filed against him and the judge recused himself.
Kanu, docked along with two others, stated that the information available to him indicated he would not be able to receive a fair trial before the judge, saying he would rather remain in detention than subject himself to a trial he knows would amount to subversion of justice.
He cited previous judgements granted in his favour by courts of competent jurisdiction that were not carried out by State Security Service (SSS).
Prosecution counsel Mohammed Diri submitted that the rule of the court laid down the procedure by which the defendant may object to his trial before a court.
He said that the defendant has to file an application objecting to the trial and in that application must exhibit special circumstances why he would not be tried by the particular court so that both the court and the prosecution can properly reply to the objection of the defendant. He pointed out that in this instance, that has not been done.
Mohammed cited Section 396 (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 which states that an objection to trial may be raised by the defendant only when the plea of the defendant is taken, but not before.
He told the court that the defendant was putting the cart before the horse by raising an objection to his trial before the charges have been read to him and his plea taken. He therefore urged the court to overrule the objection of the first defendant and the charges filed by the prosecution to be read to the three accused persons for the purpose of taking their plea.
The defense counsel, Vincent Obeta, said that the argument of the defendant was predicated on the prospects of fair trial.
Ruling on the objection raised by the accused, Justice Ahmed Mohammed agreed that the defendant has no right to object to the trial but he will take cognizance of the fact that his objection pertains to his court and his place in it as a judge. He therefore said that he would inform the Chief Judge about it for further action and re-assignment of the case.