Yet another drama played out Monday at the continuation of trial of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra.
Mr. Kanu and two others (Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi), accused of treason and association with an unlawful society, are currently standing trial before Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja.
The drama began when the lead defence counsel, Chucks Muoma, accused his clients of judicial misconduct, and threatened to withdraw from the case.
“My lord I am the lead counsel in this matter and courtesy demands that the introduction of a new counsel should be made with my consent,” Mr. Muoma told Justice Tsoho.
“I am a very busy counsel. I am not chasing the priest, the priest is chasing me. If this counsel had come in to be lead counsel, it will be a different case, but he is coming to take away one of my clients. Until this clarifications are made, my further appearance is forestalled.
“I cannot do the wrong thing after almost 45 years at the bar. My conscience cannot allow me to pretend.”
Responding, the new counsel, Amoebi Nzelu, representing the second defendant, explained how he became counsel to Mr. Madubugwu.
He noted that he was very fond of Mr. Muoma who hailed from the same village in Anambra as himself and would not want anything that rightfully belonged to his ‘elder brother’.
“Only yesterday at Kuje prison, I was called upon to represent one of the clients,” Mr. Nzelu said. “The records are there. I tried to reach one of the counsels by name Ifeanyi Ejiofor, who told me this morning that he was aware of the development, since I did not have the number of the lead counsel.
“The SAN and I are from the same LGA, Orifite in Anambra State. In Orifite. He is the eldest in this profession, and followed by another person, and myself.
“I am not struggling to take your position. I cannot struggle with my elder brother. I am the third in command, in Orifite, while he is the first in command.
He also argued that in criminal matters, the law allows a defendant to choose his counsel.
Reacting to Mr. Nzelu’s comments, Mr. Muoma said, “I m not blaming Amoebi Nzelu. I am blaming my clients, you should have informed your counsel. Let me know how your minds are working.”
The lead prosecution counsel was absent in court, and the case was later adjourned to September 26 to 29.