Following the extension of the restriction of movement by the Delta state government for an additional two weeks, the mobile court sitting at Ozoro, headquarters of Isoko North Local Government has sentenced 86 defaulters for contravening the state’s lockdown order.
The mobile courts were inaugurated across the three senatorial districts by the state Chief Judge, Justice Marshal Umukoro on April 7, to prosecute offenders who violate the restriction of movement of people, goods and services within, in and out of the state as a proactive measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
he convicts who were arrested by the police from Ozoro, Abbi, Otor-Owhe, Kwale and Oleh communities were among the total number of 93 defaulters arraigned under the Delta State Infectious Disease (Emergency Prevention) Regulation 2020 punishable under Section 5 of the Quarantine Act, 1990 and Section 203 of the Criminal Code of Delta state, 2006.
Mr. Humphrey Oghoghomeh, principal state counsel, Ministry of Justice, Ozoro zone told the court that the suspects were found walking about and traveling without a pass, neither were they engaging in essential services that fell under the exemption list thereby flouting the stay-at-home order.
Pleading guilty to the one- count charge, the defendants who were not represented by any legal practitioner, pleaded for leniency, explaining that they went out to buy foodstuffs or look for means to raise funds following the extension of the lockdown and having exhausted their savings. A couple however, said that they were traveling from Asaba to Ughelli to join their children as a result of the extension.
The presiding Chief Magistrate, Happy Enakpoya held that the conduct and action of the defendants displayed total disregard to the government’s stay-at-home order made pursuant to Section 203 of the Criminal Code of Delta state. According to him, the reasons offered by the defendants were frivolous and unsatisfactory.
However, considering the fact that the defendants were first offenders, and recourse to their plea for leniency, the court gave them fines ranging from N500 to N3000 while sentencing others to community service. Seven of the arraigned were discharged, including an aide to the Deputy Speaker, of the state House of Assembly, Emma Adigwe, who thanked the magistrate for exercising justice. So far, a total of 716 suspected defaulters have been arraigned, 399 sentenced and 209 discharged since the mobile court kicked off in the state.