COVID-19: Over 100 ‘curfew breakers’ docked in Rivers

COVID-19: Over 100 ‘curfew breakers’ docked in Rivers

Friday, April 3, 2020 4:26 pm


A cross Section of over 100 persons arrested and arraigned before three especially constituted Magistrate Courts in Port Harcourt for contravening now suspended Curfew.

Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Over 100 hundred persons have been arraigned at three Magistrate courts in Port Harcourt for allegedly violating the 24-hour curfew imposed on some parts of the city by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
The suspects were arrested by Police in different parts of the areas affected by the curfew between Monday and Thursday.
They were arraigned on three counts charge of conspiracy, disobedience to the Governors’ directive, street trading and breach of public peace.
The suspects were arraigned before magistrates Rita Oguguo, D.D. Ihua-Maduenyi and Senior and V E Nweke.
Suspects who pleaded guilty were fined10,000 and allowed to go, while those who pleaded not guilty were granted bail in the sum of N100,000 and they are to produce two sureties whose addresses must be verified by the prosecutors before being freed.
The case against them were adjourned to 6th of April for definite hearing.
The three count charges “you……,”and others now at large,  on the 31st day of March 2020 at Diobu Port Harcourt within the Port Harcourt Magisterial District, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit misdemeanor to wit: Disobedience to lawful order issued  by constituted authority, following the directive of the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, for the prevention of the spread of Coronavirus pandemic and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 517A of the criminal code cap: 37, vol. 11 Law of Rivers state of Nigeria, 1999.

The suspects massed together in the court’s cell

Count 2 states :”that you …… and others at large, following the order of Governor of Rivers state on the prevention of the spread of corona virus pandemic on the same date and place at the aforesaid Magisterial District did intentionally disobey the lawful order issued by the Governor of Rivers state on 24 hour restriction of movement from Education Bus stop to Agip Junction, Port Harcourt, wherein you went on trading, loitering and or engaging yourselves in other social activities prohibited by government within the said time and place and thereby  committed on offence punishable under section 203 of the criminal code Law of Rivers state of Nigeria, 1999.”
Count 3: “that you…….. and others at large, following the order of Governor of Rivers state on the prevention of the spread of corona virus pandemic on the same date and place at the aforesaid Magisterial District did Intentionally disobey the lawful order issued by the Governor of Rivers state on twenty four hour restriction of movement from Education Bus stop to Agip Junction, Port Harcourt, wherein you went on trading, loitering and or engaging yourselves in other social activities prohibited by government within the said time and place in a manner likely to cause breach of public peace and thereby committed an offence punishable under the section 249(d) of the criminal Code Law of Rivers state of Nigeria, 1999
A lawyer who represented one the suspects, Izitoh Orokwo, said despite the unacceptable way the the suspects were treated after their arrests, the Magistrates should be commended for the way they handled the trial.
Meanwhile, some families of those arrested lamented that they have to cough out the sum of N10,000 and above before securing bail for their loved ones.
They also expressed displeasure that the social distancing being canvased by government was not observed in the cell where the suspects were detained.
Also, a Coalition of Rivers Civil Society Organisation, accused the Police and Judiciary of not observing social distancing during the arraignment of the suspects.
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