The owner of the demolished Prodest Hotel, Promise Gogorobari, has expressed dissatisfaction over the trial of the manager of the hotel, Dr Bariledum Azoro.
Gogorobari, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt on Monday, said himself, Azoro and the hotel, were prosecuted and detained by the Rivers State Government after the facility had been demolished.
“My attention has been drawn to a criminal trial, prosecuted personally by the Honourable Attorney General of Rivers State against the manager of my hotel – Prodest Hotel and myself.
“This event is disturbing given that on Sunday, 10th May, 2020, Prodest Hotel building and the fitting and fixtures, as well as beverages and consumables, were alongside the building demolished by the Executive Governor of Rivers State on the allegation by some members’ of the State COVID-19 Task Force that Prodest Hotel was functional on 9th of May, 2020 thus violating the governor’s directive.
“We had taken management decision in line with the state directive that our staff should proceed on break until the lockdown was over and that was effective 6th May, 2020 and as such, it was impossible for my hotel to be functional on 9th of May, 2020.
“I am therefore concerned that after facing the punishment of demolition of the hotel, my manager is now constrained in facing the double jeopardy of another penal punishment. If His Excellency was aware of this judicial process, why was he in a haste to demolish the hotel?
“It is an offence that bail must be granted. Right now, my manager is being offered an opportunity for his freedom if only he admits committing a crime. The presiding magistrate has since Tuesday 12th May 2020 refused to rule on an application for bail for my manager.
“I am scared of how far this governor will go. I am scared for the life of my manager. I call on every Nigerian to do their best to prevail on the governor to operate within the laws of Nigeria and ensure that my manager is granted bail and has access to all materials necessary for his trial.
“The governor should not make a mockery of the Rivers State judicial system just to prove a bestial point. He should remember that we are all humans and allow his actions to be determined by his humanity. We may be at war with coronavirus. Nigerian citizens are not the enemy,” Gogorobari added.
When contacted, the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, told our correspondent that whatever comment made by anybody on a matter that was in court would be sub judice.