Rivers: Magistrate court remands two Pilots in prison for executive order violation over COVID-19

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Barth Ndubuwah,Port Harcourt

A Port Harcourt Chief Magistrate Court on Tuesday remanded two pilots of Carveton Helicopters,  Samuel Ugorji and Samuel Buhari in prison custody, for  allegedly  disobeying the Executive Order issued by the Rivers State Governor,Barr Nyesom Wike,aimed at checking the spread of coronavirus in the state.

The Court presided over by Chief Magistrate  . Ihua Maduenyi remanded the two pilots at the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre till May 19, 2020 when their trial will commence.

Maduenyi ruled that COVID-19 tests be carried out on the two pilots to ascertain their health status.

The Pilots who were said to have been arrested by the Rivers State Police Command were arraigned on charge number:PMC/532C/2020.

Prosecution Counsel and Officer-in-charge, Legal of the Rivers State Police Command,  Superintendent of Police,  Gladys Amadi told the court that the acts of the two pilots were capable of putting  the entire State in danger of contracting coronavirus.

She urged the court to remand them in prison custody to enable the police conclude its investigation.  She noted that allowing the accused persons roam the streets will  endanger others in the state.

According to her, remanding the pilots will also stop them from further violating the Executive Order.

The Attorney General of Rivers State,  Prof Zacheus Adango was also in court.

The Pilots are facing a four-count charge:

“Count 1: That you Samuel Ugorji (m), Samuel Buhari (m) and others now at large as pilot and co-pilot of Twin-Otter,  Carveton Helicopters on the 7th day of April 2020 at the Air Force Base , Port Harcourt in the Port Harcourt Magisterial District,  did conspire amongst yourselves to commit misdemeanour to wit: disobedience to lawful order and thereby committed an offence under section 517A of the criminal code CAP 37, Vol 11 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria,  1999.

Count 2: That you Samuel Ugorji (m), Samuel Buhari (m) and others now  at large on the same date and place at the aforesaid magisterial District did intentionally disobey the lawful order issued by the Governor of Rivers State as contained in paragraph 8 of the Executive Order RVSG -01 2020 made pursuant to Sections 2, 4, and 8 of Quarantine Act Cap. Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria,  2004 and Regulation 11 of the Quarantine (Coronavirus (COVID-19 ) and other infectious diseases) regulations , 2020 by flying the Twin-Otter Caverton Helicopters into Air Force Base,  Port Harcourt and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 5 of the Quarantine Act Cap Q2 LFN , 2004.

Count 3: That you Samuel Ugorji (m), Samuel Buhari (m) and others now  at large on the same date and place at the aforesaid magisterial District did conduct yourselves in a manner likely to cause  a breach of peace by flying and discharging passengers from the Twin-Otter helicopter at the Air Force Base,  Port Harcourt and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 249 (d) of the criminal code laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999.

Count 4: That you Samuel Ugorji (m), Samuel Buhari (m) and others now  at large 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 restriction of movement and flights within the State contrary to paragraph 8 of the Executive Order RVSG -01 2020 and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 203 of the criminal code laws of Rivers State of Nigeria,  1999.”

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