A Chief Magistrate Court in Port Harcourt has granted bail to the two Caverton Helicopters pilots who were arrested and detained over alleged illegal flight operations in Rivers State.
The pilots, Samuel Ugorji and Samuel Buhari, were arrested and charged to court last Tuesday on the orders of the Governor of the State, Nyesom Wike.
At the resumed court hearing, the Chief Magistrate, Ihua-Maduenyi, granted bail to the pilots after hearing the bail application moved by counsel to the defendants, Nwokedi Ibe.
In the bail application dated April 8, 2020, but filed on April 9, 2020, Ibe prayed the court to grant bail to his clients.
The Attorney-General of Rivers State, Zaccheus Adangor, who represented the prosecution, did not oppose the bail application. However, he urged the court to impose stringent conditions that would ensure the defendants attend their trial.
The Chief Magistrate granted bail to the pilots and ordered them to produce a surety who must be a management staff of Caverton Helicopters. The surety must sign a bail bond of N1 million each for the two pilots and must own a landed property in Port Harcourt.
The court also granted bail to 10 passengers flown into the state by the two pilots. As part of their bail conditions, the court ordered that they should present two sureties who must also be management staff of Caverton Helicopters.
The sureties must sign a bail bond of N500,000 for each of the passengers and undertake to produce the persons in court on every date fixed for trial.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had faulted the arrest of the pilots, stating that aviation matters are on the exclusive list of the Federal Government.