A Chief Magistrate Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Tuesday granted bail to two pilots of Caverton Helicopters, Samuel Ugorji and Samuel Buhari.
The pilots were accused by the State Government of contravening the Executive Order of Governor Nyesom Wike, issued to check the spread of coronavirus in the State.
The Court also granted bail to 10 passengers flown into Rivers by Caverton Helicopters’ pilots.
Chief Magistrate D.D . Ihua-Maduenyi granted the two pilots bail after hearing the bail application by their counsel.
The magistrate, in granting the two pilots bail, said they must present a surety who must be management staff of Caverton Helicopters.
The Court ruled that the surety must own a landed property in Port Harcourt and must ensure that the two pilots attended trial.
He added that the surety would sign a bail bond of N1 million each for the two pilots.
The magistrate adjourned the matter to May 19, 2020 for trial.
Lawyer to the Caverton pilots, Nwokedi Ibe, had moved the bail application for the two pilots.
His bail application dated April 8, 2020, but filed on April 9, 2020. It 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 attended their trial.
For the passengers, the Court ruled that they should present two sureties who must be management staff of Carverton Helicopters and that they must sign bail bond of N500,000 for each of the passengers, as well as undertake to bring the accused persons for 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.
The 10 passengers who were granted bail include:
1. NWOGU CHIBUNA ‘M’, AGED 39YRS
2. PETER MICHAEL ‘M’AGED 43YRS
3. AJAGBA IHEAYNI ‘M’ AGED 35YRS
4. EKPEREWECHI OGUGUO ‘M’AGED 43YRS
5. NSIKAN PIUS ‘M’ AGED 38YRS
6. ABANOBI CHINOSO ‘M’AGED 27YRS
7. UDOH HAGAN ‘M’AGED 28YRS
8. OKACHUKWU CHUKS ‘M’ AGED 41YRS
9. GODDY CHUKWU ‘M’AGED 42YRS
10. OOMERURIKE CHIJIOKE ‘M’AGED 43YRS
Addressing journalists, counsel to Caverton Helicopters, Ibe 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, Adangor said it must be noted that Rivers State 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, adding that the defendants would be released as soon as they perfected their bail.
On April 7, a Port Harcourt Chief Magistrate Court had remanded the two pilots in prison, for allegedly 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 Ihua-Maduenyi remanded the two pilots at the Delta Hotels, Old GRA, Port Harcourt after the Attorney-General of Rivers State, Adangor applied for that order.
The Pilots, who were arrested by the Rivers State Police Command were arraigned by the Command via charge number: PMC/532C/2020.