A Magistrate court sitting in Port Harcourt has found the manager of Prodest Hotel, Bariledum Job guilty for violating the executive order of the state government on the closure of all hotels in the state.
Senior Magistrate, Rita Ogwugwor who delivered the judgement in the absence of the manager’s lawyer today, ordered the manager to pay a fine of N50,000. She equally ruled that the manager be taken to the state’s isolation centre and be tested for the COVID-19, to ascertain his status.
While the proceeding was ongoing, the manager insisted on seeing his lawyer, but counsel to the state government stated that the manager’s lawyer had sent a text message, withdrawing from the case. When contacted by journalists, the lawyer to the manager, Godwin Awi said he was absent in court due to the inability of legal practitioners to get a pass from the state government. He said he will meet with his client to know the next line of action.
Meanwhile, some stakeholders have criticized the court for its ruling without the manager’s counsel. They said the manager has a right to an attorney before he can be convicted. They urged the manager to appeal the ruling as it is unconstitutional.