Over 100 people have been arrested and arraigned at the Magistrate Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State over violation of the state government’s lockdown in some parts of the state capital following outbreak of Coronavirus.
The suspects, who were arrested by Police in different parts of Port Harcourt between Monday and Thursday were charged with three-count of conspiracy, disobedient to Governors’ directive, street trading which has caused a breach of public peace and thereby committed an offence.
Three magistrates who presided over the cases, Dr Rita Oguguo, Chief Magistrate D.D. Ihua-Maduenyi and Senior Magistrate V E Nweke in their various courts, granted bail to the suspects.
The suspects who pleaded guilty were fined N10,000 while those who pleaded not guilty were granted bail with N100,000 with two sureties as their sureties addresses must be verified by the prosecutors. Their cases were adjourned to 6th of April for hearing.
Speaking with one of the counsels who handled a case in one of the courts, Izitoh Orokwo, said despite the suffering of the suspect, he commended the way the case was handled by the magistrate.
Some of those locked up in cell
Meanwhile some families of those arrested narrated their ordeal of paying N10,000 and above before securing bail for their loved ones.
They expressed displeasure in the arrest of their families, adding that the social distancing being canvased by government was played out in the court cell where more than 100 persons were put together.
A Coalition of Rivers Civil Society Organisation accused the Police and Judiciary for not observing Social Distancing while suspects were being prosecuted in court.