Tony John, Port Harcourt
A Chief Magistrates’ Court in Port Harcourt has granted bail to two pilots of Carveton Helicopters, Samuel Ugorji and Samuel Buhari, who were accused of contravening the Executive Order of the Rivers State Governor issued to check the spread of coronavirus in the state.
The magistrates’ court also granted bail to 10 passengers of Carveton Helicopters, who were flown into Rivers by the pilots.
Chief Magistrate D.D . Ihua-Maduenyi granted the accused persons bail after hearing the bail application by their counsel.
Ihua-Maduenyi, in granting the two pilots bail, stated that they must present a surety who must be a management staff of Carveton Helicopters.
The court ruled that the surety must own a landed property in Port Harcourt and must ensure that the two pilots attend trial.
He added that the surety would sign a bail bond of N1million each, for the two pilots.
Earlier, the court granted a motion abridging the time for the bail application to be filed following a motion moved by Carveton Helicopters. It deemed the bail application as properly filed.
He adjourned the matter till May 19, 2020, for trial.
Lawyer to the Carveton pilots, Nwokedi Ibe, moved a bail application seeking the court to grant the two pilots bail.
His bail application dated April 8, 2020, but filed on April 9, 2020, was supported by a 28-paragraph affidavit.
Attorney-General of the State, Zaccheus Adangor, who appeared for the state, did not oppose the bail application. He, however, urged the court to set out bail conditions to ensure that the pilots attend their trial.
For the passengers, the court ruled that they should present two sureties, who must be management staff of Carveton Helicopters. The sureties are to sign bail bond of N500,000 for each of the passengers. They are to undertake to bring the accused persons trial.
The accused persons were arrested at the Air Force Base, Port Harcourt, after the state police command received intelligence on their illegal flight into the state.
Addressing journalists, counsel for Carveton Helicopters, Nwokedi Ibe, said that the basic lesson in the interaction is that there must be mutual respect between the federal and state governments.
Attorney-General of state, Adangor, said that it must be noted that Rivers Government was not interested in the persecution of the defendants. Hence, it did not oppose the bail application.
He said that the state government was only interested in prosecuting the defendants in line with the law.
He said that the defendants would be released as soon as they perfect their bail.
On April 7, a Port Harcourt chief magistrates’ court remanded two pilots in prison custody for allegedly intentionally disobeying the Executive Order issued by the Rivers governor aimed at checking the spread of coronavirus in the state.
The court remanded them at the Delta Hotels, Old GRA, Port Harcourt, after the Attorney-General, Adangor, applied for that order.
The pilots were arraigned by the State Police Command via charge number: PMC/532C/2020.