The Federal Government has applied for closed-door trial in the treason charge against Benjamin Onwuka, a lawyer and 11 others, members of the Biafra Zionist Federation, a group campaigning for the secession of eastern Nigeria from Nigeria. The excised territory will be declared as Biafra, like the one declared 48 years ago.
At a resumed hearing on Tuesday at the Federal High Court, Enugu, the prosecuting counsel, Mr David Kaswe, prayed the court to exclude members of the public from further hearing on the matter.
Kaswe said that the application when granted would enable his remaining witnesses to testify in the matter.
He said two of his witnesses that had yet to testify in the matter were not disposed to doing that in the public as they had received threats to their life.
The prosecuting counsel said that the application was in the best interest of justice.
The Defence Counsel, Mr Olu Omotayo, opposed the motion on the grounds that the matter commence in the full glare of the public.
He said that the court would err if it granted such application as according to him, there had not been any breach of order since the commencement of the trial.
At the resumed hearing, the court admitted as exhibits 46 empty bottles of beer, 25 litres of petrol, 15 cutlasses and six CD tapes.
A Prosecution Witness, Cpl. Michael Udemba, said that the exhibits were recovered from the suspects on the day of their arrest.
Udemba said that the empty bottles and fuel were to be used as explosives to set the premises of Enugu State Broadcasting Service ablaze.
The Judge, Justice D.V. Agishi, adjourned the matter till June 10 for ruling on the closed-door trial application and continuation of hearing.
The suspects have been in custody since June 2014. They were arrested for alleged invasion of ESBS in an attempt to make a broadcast for the secession of Biafra.
In 1967, the military governor of Eastern Nigeria, Emeka Ojukwu had driven the region to self rule, as Biafra. But the rebellion was crushed three years after by Nigeria’s Federal forces.