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Nigerian Hon Justice John Tsoho has ruled against the possibility of conducting the trial of pro-Biafran leader Nnamdi Kanu secretly, one of the lawyers told IBTimes UK. The British-Nigerian Radio Biafra director and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) is standing trial on six counts of treasonable felony charges.
Ifeanyi Ejiofor, one of the lawyers representing Kanu, told IBTimes UK the prosecution had filed an application requesting a secret trial. "The prosecution's application to try him secretly has been refused," he said. "Our objection was upheld. The matter has been adjourned to between 7 and 11 March."
Witnesses said Kanu went to court wearing colours echoing the Biafran flag. The court also ruled the name of some witnesses supposed to testify will not be made public, to protect their identity.
Kanu was arrested by the State Security Service (DSS) in Lagos in October 2015 on conspiracy and terrorism charges, which were later dropped.
A day after the Abuja High Court ruled he should be released, officials pressed new treasonable felony charges against him, while President Muhammadu Buhari said Kanu would not be granted bail due to the "atrocities" allegedly committed.
Kanu was kept in DSS custody until Tsoho ruled he should be transferred to the the Nigeria Prison Service in Kuje, about 40km south west of Abuja, so family members could visit.
Ipob, as well as other pro-Biafrans, call for the independence of the Biafran territories forcibly annexed to Nigeria during the British colonisation, which ended in 1960. The declaration of the independent Republic of Biafra in 1967 sparked a civil war that resulted in the death of millions and the re-annexation of the republic to Nigeria in 1970.
Pro-Biafrans hold regular marches across south-eastern Nigeria calling for independence and Kanu's release. It is believed that during a demonstration in Aba state on 9 February, at least 10 people were killed by the army and police with footage purportedly showing Nigerian security forces attacking pro-Biafrans being widely circulated on social media.