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Rivers State Government Withdraws Charges Against Caverton Helicopter Pilots

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The Rivers State Government through the Honourable Attorney-General has withdrawn and discontinued the two separate charges ( PMC/532C/2020 and PMC/533C/2020) preferred against the two pilots of Caverton Helicopters Ltd and the 10 passengers on board before the Port Harcourt Chief Magistrates’ Court.
According to a statement by the state Commissioner for information and Communications,  Pastor Paulinus Nsirim,  made available to The Tide on Tuesday,  “Consequently, the presiding Chief Magistrate, D. D. Ihua-Maduenyi Esq; has struck out the two charges and discharged all the defendants.”
It would be recalled  that the pilots were arrested and prosecuted by the Rivers State Government  on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, for allegedly disobeying the state Executive order on COVID-19.
The Port Harcourt Chief Magistrate Court remanded two pilots of Carveton 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 Port Harcourt Correctional Centre till May 19, 2020 when their trial commenced.
Chief Magistrate Ihua-Maduenyi ruled that COVID-19 tests be carried out on the two pilots to ascertain their status.
The Pilots were arrested by the Rivers State Govt Task Force on Covid 19 for flying people into Rivers State, and arraigned via charge number: PMC/532C/2020.
Prosecution Counsel and Officer-in-charge, Legal of the Rivers State Police Command,  a 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 their investigation.  She noted that allowing the accused persons roam the streets would endanger others in the state.
According to her, remanding the pilots would also stop them from further violating the Executive Order.
The Pilots were 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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Governor Wike Releases N450M To 2019 Presidential Election Violence Victims In Abonnema

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The State Chief Executive Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has released the sum of Four hundred and fifty million naira to the victims of the 2019 Presidential election violence in Abonnema.
Speaking during  a meeting preparatory to giving out the cash, Governor Wike  said the gesture is in fulfilment of his promise to the people of Abonnema  at the Church service to honour those who lost their lives, the injured and those who lost properties during the crisis.
Represented by the Secretary to the State Government Dr. Tammy Wenike  Danagogo, Governor Wike said no amount of money could adequately compensate the people for the harrowing experience they suffered in the hands of the Nigerian Army, stating that he appreciates the support and commitment of the People of  Akuku Toru Local Government Area before, during and after the elections. He said he would continue to execute programmes that would positively impact on the lives of the people of the  Area.
He assured them that the second phase of the Abonnema ring road would be commissioned before the end of June, stressing that the contractor has been fully paid.
According to him in the face of the Covid 19 Pandemic he has continued to stand by the People of the State by taking practical steps not only to protect Rivers People but to also provide palliatives to bring succour to the vulnerable and less privileged unlike the   selfish politicians in other political  parties who only visit the people to solicit for votes during elections but do not have the interest of the people at heart.
In his remarks the Amayanabo of Abonnema King Disrael  Gbobo Bobmanuel thanked  Governor Wike for fulfilling his promise to the Abonnema People, noting that the Governor has proven over the years that his word is his bond.
According to him the Governor is a man worthy of trust and support because he has fulfilled all his promises to the Abonnema People. He Advised beneficiaries to make judicious use of the Money the Governor has graciously given to them.
Earlier the Chairman of Akuku Toru Local Government Area Hon. Roland Sekibo who said he is still traumatized by the events that took place during the Presidential election in 2019 expressed gratitude to Governor Wike for his kind gesture, stressing that the People of his Local Government Area would continue to support the Governor in his quest to improve the lives of Rivers People.
Also speaking one of the beneficiaries Mr  Minamiango Romeo  who sustained gunshot injuries  expressed gratitude to Governor Wike for not abandoning them in their time of need and promised to continue to support his Administration and the leaders of the Local Government Area.
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PROBE: EFCC Should Stop Media Trial – Rivers State Government

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The Rivers State Government says its attention has been drawn to a fresh wave of media trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the officials of the state.

According  to a statement issued by the state Commissioner for information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, “the latest attempt contained in today’s edition( May 24,2020)of The Nation Newspaper alleged that the State Government has refused to release top officials for interrogation in connection to the withdrawal of N118 billion in cash between 2015 and 2018.

 

“We have repeatedly said that the State Government will not release its officials to the EFCC for investigations until the commission approaches the Court  to set aside Subsisting orders of perpetual  injunction granted by various courts of competent jurisdiction restraining the EFCC from investigating or inquiring into the financial transactions of the Rivers  State Government including its ministries, departments and  agencies.

 

“In view of these  Subsisting judgments, it would amount  to an act of brazen  illegality for the EFCC to  insist  on  interrogating  any official OF the Rivers State Government.
For the avoidance of doubt, no official of the Rivers State Government would appear before the EFCC until the subsisting judgments in favour of the Rivers State Government are set aside on appeal.

“Resorting to the Media can only be described as cheap blackmail and witch-hunt to turn away public attention from the development strides in the State.

“This media trial that they engage in all the time will not take the place of our extant laws no matter how hard they try.

“The EFCC should stop playing to the gallery and pursue its war against corruption within the ambits of the law.

 

“Rivers State Government is committed to the Rule of Law and cannot be intimidated by the EFCC.

“Those who want to use the EFCC to promote their political agenda in the State will fail because we know their antics.

“Targeting Rivers State for this occasional media trial should be seen by the public for what it is, “political witch-hunt,” the statement said.

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Rivers Records 27 New Coronavirus Cases …Manager Of Prodest Hotel Among The New Cases

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Rivers State has recorded 27 new positive coronavirus  cases.

A statement signed by the Rivers state Ministry of Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, disclosed that the Manager of Prodest Hotel, Eleme is among the new positive cases.

According to the statement, the latest development validates the State Government’s proactive approach towards the fight against COVID-19.

Recall that Prodest Hotel was demolished two weeks ago because the owners violated Executive Order 7 which banned the operation of hotels.

The COVID-19 Taskforce members from the Local Government who went to enforce the Executive Order were brutalized and dehumanised leading to the death of one of them.

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