Gov Wike wins in court as owner of demolished hotel is tried in absentia, fined N50k

A Magistrates’ Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has found Promise Gogorobari, owner of demolished Prodest Hotel in Eleme, guilty of contravening the State Executive Order on COVID-19.

In the ruling delivered on Monday, May 18th, the court fined Gogorobari and Bariledum Azoroh who is the manager of the demolished facility, N50,000 each.

Gogorobari was not present at the trial, but his manager was present.

Rita Oguguo, Senior Magistrate, who delivered the judgement ruled that the accused persons violated paragraph 3 and 4 of Governor Nyesom Wike’s Executive Order number 7.

Before the ruling, Azoroh had insisted on seeing his lawyer, Godwin Awi who was absent in court due to his inability to get a pass that will grant him access in court, because of the continued lockdown of Port Harcourt and Obio-Akpor council areas.

Azoroh lamented that in spite of his plea to get his counsel to defend him, the court went ahead to convict him.

He said: “With what has happened, it is clear that there are other underlying issues that probably we do not know,”

“I do not agree with everything that has transpired today in line with the fact that the Constitution is clear as to the issue of right to counsel, adequate time and facility for an accused person standing trial to defend himself.”

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