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Wednesday 9 March 2016


inJustice John Tsoho

It was a boisterous moment in Nnamdi Kanu’s trial when Nigeria’s high court Justice Adeniyi Ademola on December 17, 2015, ruled that Nnamdi Kanu should be unconditionally released on bail. 

Hear Justice Ademola: "I set aside the orders of November 10, 2015 and order the release of the applicant (Kanu) on bail unconditionally." Shortly after his judgement, there was wide-spread euphoria across Nigeria and beyond. But that did not last long. Sad news choked the good news. First, there was a brutal clampdown of jubilating supporters in Onitsha by the Nigerian Army. 

Secondly, the Department of State Security (DSS) unsurprisingly ignored the rulings of Justice Ademola and festered with its “illegal” detention of Kanu. 
On December 30, Buhari told viewers of the state media that Nnamdi Kanu had “committed a very serious offence” and that he hope “the court will listen to the case.” His threat to the judiciary provoked another judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, to wash his hands off the case in a Pontius Pilate-styled manner.  
However, another judge, Justice John Tsoho took over the handling of the case. How courageous is Tsoho to despise Buhari’s call by picking up the case? 

So who is this Justice John Tsoho?
In 2013, Dr Wale Babalankin, was arrested, arraigned and charged along with one Alex Okoh and his companies, Stabilini Visiononi Ltd, Bi-Courtney Ltd and Renix Nigeria Ltd on a 27-count charge before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo of an Ikeja High Court over an alleged laundering of N4.7billion by the EFCC.             However, in a landmark judgement on February 23, 2015, the trial judge, Justice Lateef Lawal Akapo after 2 years of on-going trial, ruled that there was no basis for the charge and, consquently, struck out the suit and discharged Babalakin and the other defendants.                                                                                                                   .                                                                Justice Lawal-Akapo noted that the entire 27-count charge did not contain any single charge that constituted a crime or an offence under the Nigerian Law. However, the EFCC was not satisfied with the ruling and went on to file a similar charge against Babalankin. When Babalankin discovered the plan of the EFCC, he approached the federal high court seeking protection and a judicial review of the actions. The case was assigned to a new judge as expected who on the 19th of April, 2015 granted a restraining order against the EFCC. Babalankin will however not celebrate for long as the same Judge in a surprise ruling shortly, overturned his own judgement and granted EFCC permission to continue with the case. 

On the following Monday the judge withdrew from the suit following a petition from Babalankin's lawyer to the Chief Judge of the federal high court seeking transfer of the case to another judge. The basis of the petition dated June 19, 2015 was that the ex-parte order restraining EFCC from arresting Babalakin was discharged without a formal application. Yes! You heard me right. This Judge planned, generated and granted the application from the blues. Now! Guess who this judge is? Yes! It is same Justice John Tsoho of the federal high court.
READ:Witnesses won’t wear mask in Kanu’s trial, says courtOn February 19, 2016, Justice Tsoho ruled out the possibility of using any secret trial or masked witnesses as proposed by DSS on Nnamdi Kanu’s trial. Note that this is coming barely a year after he had overturned his won judgement in the case involving Babalakin.                                              However, just two weeks later, Justice Tsoho will engage in another "judiciary somersault" the only difference this time around is that he did not plan, generate and granted this application from the blues but rather like an unstable fellow contradicted his own judgment again by granting the DSS permission to use "Ojuju Calabar" sorry, masked witnesses only that this time around he prefers to use the term  "screen shielded witnesses".  
THEN READ THIS: Court clears Nigerian govt to bring masked witnesses in Nnamdi Kanu’s trialRecall that on Jan 18th 2016, Nnamdi Kanu’s trial was shifted because the Judge could not make it to court. There were allegations then that it was a plot between the Judge and the DSS to buy more time as the latter had failed to come up with any logical & coherent charge prior to the case. 
The shenanigans by Justice Tsoho therefore came as no surprise to many of us as Nigerian judiciary system and government is rated amongst the most corrupt on earth.
So who is Justice Tsoho? A Zombie? An Actor? Or one of the bad eggs in Nigeria’s judiciary system? Or just an overzealous savage who sees that the innocent and the common man gets trampled on by the corrupt regimes for whatever price? It is a shame that such attributes can be associated with a public servant, let alone a so-called Judge especially for a man who is on the line to becoming the Chief Judge of the federal high court of this country.

Written By Ucheagu Chukwuemeka Chimerue
Edited  By  Ikechukwu nwaorisa

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