The high-profilee trial of Nnamdi Kanu – leader of a separatist movement that calls for the breakaway of Nigeria's contested Biafran territories – has suffered another setback when the judge presiding over the case stepped down on 26 September.Kanu is the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) and director of Radio Biafra. Pro-Biafrans call for the independence of Biafran territories, forcibly annexed to modern-day Nigeria during British colonisation, which ended in 1960.

Kanu and his co-defendants Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwauwisiare are standing trial against treasonable felony charges.

However, both the prosecution and the defence have not been able to proceed with the case due to several obstacles – that Kanu's supporters have deemed as tactical, in order to keep their leader in detention for an indefinite time.

Tsoho is the second judge to have withdrawn from the case, which has attracted international attention. It is unclear how long the process to appoint a new judge will take. However, some lawyers have pointed out that judges are reluctant to take cases that colleagues have withdrawn from "because it would appear as if judges are passing buck."

Kanu, who denies all the charges against him, was arrested in Lagos last October on conspiracy and terrorism charges, which were later dropped.

The Abuja High Court initially ruled in favour of granting bail to Kanu. However, in December 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari said the Ipob leader would not be released amid fears he could jump bail and flee to the UK, as he holds both a British and a Nigerian passport.

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