A mild drama played out in court on Monday, during the trial of Nnmadi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and two other persons, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi.
During the trial presided over by Justice John Tsoho of an Abuja Federal High Court, legal counsel to Kanu and the two others, Chucks Muoma, threatened to withdraw from the case after accusing his clients of judicial misconduct.
Kanu, Madubugwu and Nwawuisi are accused of treason and participating in an unlawful society.
Speaking at the court, the lawyer told the judge that, “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.”
“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.”
On his part, the new legal counsel, Amoebi Nzelu, explained how he became the counsel to the second defendant, Madubugwu.
“Only yesterday at Kuje prison, I was called upon to represent one of the clients,” 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.”
Replying to the co-counsel’s comments, 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 case was subsequently adjourned to September 26 to 29 by the trial judge.