Absent judge stalls trial of Biafran secessionists

Absent judge stalls trial of Biafran secessionists

Thursday, December 18, 2014 9:22 pm

File photo: Biafran agitators

File photo: Biafran agitators

The trial of 11 persons accused of plotting to recreate a new Biafran Republic out of Nigeria, suffered a setback at the Federal High Court in Enugu on Thursday as the trial judge, Justice D.V. Agishi, was absent.

The accused persons, who were arrested by the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Enugu, on June 4, were brought to court but were not docked as they were taken back to the prison due to the judge’s absence.

The counsel to the accused persons, Mr Olu Omotayo, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the matter could not hold because the trial judge travelled out of the state.

Omotayo said the case had been adjourned to 9 February 2015.

The accused include Benjamin Onwuka and Ndubisi Nnamshi, both of Enugu North Local Government Area and Kelvin Ekeh of Enugu East.

Others are Japhet Nwodo, Fidelis Nwosu, Paulinus Uzoegbu, Sunday Chukwuma, Uduma Uduma, Betrand Obiekwe, Abraham Ugwu and Samson Ijaga, all from Anambra State.

They were arraigned on a four-count charge. They pleaded not guilty on their first appearance in court.

According to the prosecution counsel, Mr D.E. Kaswe, the accused persons conspired to hoist the outlawed Biafran and Israeli flags in Enugu and created the Biafra website.

Kaswe said they were in possession of dangerous weapons with the intent to capture the Enugu State Broadcasting Service to make a live broadcast of the secession of Biafra as a nation.

He added that Benjamin Onwuka, the leader of Biafra Zionist Federation, was the only one involved in the case of website creation with the intent to incite and solicit support from members of the public to intimidate President Goodluck Jonathan.

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