A Federal High Court sitting in Enugu has fixed February 14 for its ruling on the application for bail filed by the leader of Biafra Zionist Federation, Benjamin Onwuka and 10 others.
DAILY POST recalls that a treason charge was filed against them by the Attorney General of the Federation before the court presided over by Justice D.V Agishi.
In the Application for bail filed on behalf of the activists by their lawyer, Olu Omotayo Esq., they had maintained in the affidavit and further affidavit in support of the Motion thus:
“That the ‘Biafra Zionist Federation’ (BZF), is a peaceful movement for the liberation of the entire Biafra people of former Eastern region of Nigeria and the Biafra Zionist Federation (BZF), is not an outlawed organization in Nigeria”.
They further stated that the movement had not been proscribed by any law in Nigeria.
“That Onwuka and other members of ‘Biafra Zionist Federation’ had on the 5th day of June 2014 staged a peaceful protest to intimate the world of the suffering and plight of people of the sovereign state of Biafra and they were not armed or carried any offensive weapon on that fateful day.
“That as it was when they marched to the ‘Enugu State Broadcasting Service’, the state owned radio corporation, and they demanded to see the programme producer, so that they can through him intimate the whole world the plight of the Biafran people, that they were attacked by men of Nigeria Police Force and in the process many of them were wounded and one person killed”, they further stated.
In a counter affidavit filed on behalf of the Federal Government by D.E. Kaswe Esq, a Senior state counsel in the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, it maintained that Biafra Zionist Federation is a violent movement seeking to restore back the “Biafra Republic”, a political structure earlier disbanded by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The government further maintained that the activists should not be granted bail because they were hypnotized by their Biafra Zionists Federation.
The Federal government also placed much reliance on the case, Dokubo Asari V. Federal Republic of Nigeria and urged the court not to grant the activists bail as the offence for which they were charged was treason, punishable with death.
Olu omotayo in defence of the activists argued that the case of Asari Dokubo V. FRN heavily relied on by the Federal Government was not applicable to this case as the Supreme court in this same case Asari
Dokubo V. FRN (2007) Vol 9, MJSC 160 at 74 paragraphs D-E, stated thus: “It is worthy that on question of exercise of discretion authorities are not of much value. No two case are exactly similar and even if they are, the Court are not bound by a previous decision to exercise its’ way because that would be putting an end to the discussion, no discretion in one case can be precedent to another”.
Omotayo further submitted that Asaris’ case was inapplicable because the prevailing circumstances in Niger Delta region were different from that of Southeast.
“There were hostilities or state of war in Niger Delta region then whereas there is peace in the Southeast Nigeria presently.
“The activities of the Biafra activists have not in any way created the situation obtainable in Niger Delta region then”, he argued.