May 7, 2015

Absence of AG’s counsel stalls trial of Biafra activists

Absence of AG’s counsel stalls trial of Biafra activists

The arrested Biafra Zionists Federation, BZF, members on parade.

By Francis Igata

ENUGU—The  ongoing trial of 11 members of Biafra Zionist Federation, BZF, was stalled, yesterday, due to the absence of the prosecuting counsel from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.

It would be re-called that the Zionists, including their leader, Benjamin Onwuka, had been standing trial on charges bordering on treason before a Federal High Court sitting in Enugu.

The court, presided over by Justice Dorothy Agishi, had earlier remanded them in prison custody, over-ruling a bail application request from their counsel, Olu Omotayo.

The 11 pro-Biafra activists were brought to the court with heavily armed security operatives.

All the adjoining entrances leading to the court were also barricaded, a situation that made it difficult for people to drive in or out of the court premises.

However, when the case came up, the clerk informed the court that the prosecuting counsel said he was indisposed to appear in the court.

Angered by the development, counsel to the accused persons, Omotayo, told the court that the freedom of his clients was being toyed with by the Attorney General.

He said:   “We are surprised that he is not here today, if he knew that he would not be disposed to come from Abuja, he should hand over the case file to another counsel in their zonal office here in Enugu.

“During the bail application, a counsel was coming from the AG’s zonal office in Enugu, so, I’m surprised that the person is no longer appearing in the court.

“I am praying the court that if they did not appear in the next date, the case of the prosecution should be closed while they allow us to open our defence.”

Members of the BZF, who were also in court, left with mournful looks, even as they accused the Federal Government of a deliberate plan to stifle a non-violent organization.

One of them, who spoke to journalists on anonymity, said:   “President Jonathan should free these innocent freedom fighters before he leaves in office in May 29, 2015.”