The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has asked that the lawyer who served as his lead counsel in previous sittings, M. U. Udechukwu, step down for Chucks Muoma.
Mr. Kanu wrote to the court, ahead of Friday’s sitting, asking that there should be a change in his representation.
Mr. Kanu is facing charges of treason. The court is to rule on his bail application today.
In the letter, read during a dramatic session, the judge, John Tsoho said he was asked to change Mr. Kanu’s lead counsel, because according to Mr. Kanu, the person who represented him in previous sittings was different from the person he had instructed.
When lawyers announced their appearances, Mr. Udechukwu told the court that he had been informed of the letter, saying he would immediately stand down for Mr. Muoma to continue the case.
But Mr. Muoma said he was surprised that Mr. Udechukwu had raised the issue so early.
He said he had told Mr. Udechukwu that there was a letter to that effect, but that he should first complete the bail application he was handling, before withdrawing.
In his reaction, Mr. Udechukwu insisted on handing over the case, because the letter said he had impersonated the lead counsel at previous hearings.
Mr. Udechukwu said impersonation, a serious offence, could affect his legal profession of almost 20 years.
He therefore prayed the court to record his apology for the said offence, and that the court should note that he was withdrawing from the case.
The judge, Mr. Tsoho, who had earlier hesitated to read the letter, regarding it as an issue that should be resolved by the counsels, asked to know the name of the particular counsel he would record for Mr. Kanu.
Mr. Muoma told the court that he and Mr. Ejiofor would take the place of the defendant’s counsel.
Mr. Udechukwu told the court that his withdrawal would affect the other counsels who came with him.