Tuesday, April 14, 2020 5:59 pm
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
A Chief Magistrate Court in Port Harcourt on Tuesday granted bail to Samuel Ugorji and Samuel Buhari, the two pilots of Caverton Helicopters who were accused of contravening the Executive Order of the Rivers State Governor issued to check the spread of coronavirus in the State.
The Magistrate Court also granted bail to 10 passengers of Caverton Helicopters who were flown into Rivers State by the two pilots.
Chief Magistrate D.D . Ihua-Maduenyi granted the two pilots bail after hearing the bail application by their counsel.
However, in granting the two pilots bail, the Court said they must present a surety who must be a management staff of Caverton Helicopters.
The Court also ruled that the surety must own a landed property in Port Harcourt and the surety must ensure that the two pilots attend their trial.
He added that the surety will 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 Caverton Helicopters. It deemed the bail application as properly filed.
He adjourned the matter to May 19, 2020 for trial.
Earlier, the lawyer to the Caverton 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 Rivers State, Professor 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 . They sureties are to sign bail bond of N500,000 for each of the passengers. They are to undertake to bring the accused persons trial.
They were arrested at the Air Force Base , Port Harcourt after the Rivers State Police Command received intelligence on their illegal flight into the State.
Addressing journalists, Counsel to Caverton Helicopters, Nwokedi Ibe, said that the Basic lesson in the who interaction is that there must be mutual respect between the Federal and State Governments.
He said: “I want to use this medium to say there is need for mutual respect between the Federal Government and State Governments. The defendants have been granted bail. That is the essence of what happened in Court.”
Attorney-General of Rivers State, Professor Zaccheus Adangor said that it must be noted that Rivers State Government is not interested in the persecution of the defendants, hence it did not oppose the bail application. He said that the State Government is only interested in prosecuting the defendants in line with the law.
He said that the defendants will be released as soon as they perfect their bail.
It will be recalled that on April 7, a Port Harcourt Chief Magistrate Court remanded two pilots of Caverton Helicopters, Samuel Ugorji and Samuel Buhari in prison custody, for allegedly intentionally disobeying the Executive Order issued by the Rivers State Governor aimed at checking the spread of coronavirus in the state.
The Court presided over by Chief Magistrate D.D . Ihua-Maduenyi remanded the two pilots at the Delta Hotels , Old GRA, Port Harcourt after the Attorney-General of Rivers State, Professor Zaccheus Adangor applied for that order.
The Pilots who were arrested by the Rivers State Police Command were arraigned by the State Police Command via charge number: PMC/532C/2020.
The 10 passengers who were granted bail include: