Dogara warns Police nothing must happen to embattled Senator

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Melaye, appeared before a Magistrate Court in Lokoja, Kogi state on a stretcher to face criminal charges on Thursday, May 3, 2018. The arraignment happened just a day after he also appeared before an Abuja Magistrate Court sitting at Wuse Zone 2 on a stretcher to answer charges brought against him by the police.

Police drag Melaye to court as he appears on stretcherplay

The Senior Magistrate Court 2 in Lokoja ruled on Thursday that the Kogi West representative should be remanded in prison till June 11 as he faces charges of criminal conspiracy and unlawful possession of prohibited firearms,, kidnapping, armed robbery, murder, political thuggery and other violent crimes in the state.

During plenary on Thursday, lawmakers expressed their worries about Melaye being unduly persecuted by the police and urged the National Assembly to probe the matter.

While responding to the motion to prevail on the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, on the matter, Dogara cautioned the police against putting Melaye’s health in jeopardy.

He warned that the institution will be held responsible if anything happens to Melaye in the course of prosecution which he argued the lawmaker is unfit to be undergoing.

He said, “All I can say is that nothing must happen to the senator. If anybody in this country has committed an offence, the law is there for the person to he prosecuted or arraigned within the ambit of the law.

“So my admonition to the security agencies is to do everything possible to ensure that his life is secure first before prosecution. Prosecution cannot come at the expense of death.

“And that is very important, because if anything happens to him, squarely the responsibility will lie on the security agents. And that is without mincing words.”

He further expressed his frustration with the prosecution of the lawmaker who is “not even in the right frame of mind to even take a plea.”

“So of what use is it taking someone to court when he cannot plead guilty or not guilty? What is more important is health first, before he is even tried,” he said.

Melaye facing three criminal cases in three courts
After Kabiru Saidu, a.k.a Osama, and Nuhu Salisu, aka Small, were arrested at Ogojueje in Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi on January 19, 2018, they confessed to the police that Senator Melaye hired them to cause unrest in the state ahead of the 2019 general elections.

The criminal suspects disclosed that the lawmaker handed them a bag containing one AK-47 rifle, two pump action guns and the sum of N430,000 to unleash mayhem in Kogi.

The police first requested Melaye’s presence in a letter addressed to Senate President, Bukola Saraki, dated March 2, 2018, urging him to report to the Police on March 7 to answer to the criminal offences levelled against him, but he refused the invitation, alleging that the police was colluding with the Kogi state government to cause him harm.

He was officially declared wanted by the police on March 28, the same day he was due to be arraigned in court in Lokoja alongside Osama and Small who both escaped from their prison cell but were rearrested before April 1.

While attempting to travel to Morocco for an official engagement on Monday, April 23, Melaye was stopped by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. The operatives seized his international passport to prevent him from leaving the country.

According to the police, the lawmaker snatched his seized passport from NIS operatives and retreated to his house in Maitama, Abuja, where police officers later laid siege into the early hours of Tuesday, April 24.

Early on Tuesday, he announced that he would pay a visit to police authorities after his police escorts were withdrawn.

On Tuesday afternoon, with help from hoodlums, Melaye briefly escaped from police officers while he was being transported from Abuja to his home state.

Hours later, the Senator resurfaced at the Zankli Medical Center, Abuja, in an ambulance, apparently unconscious, before he was rearrested and moved to the National Hospital.

He was arraigned before an Abuja Magistrate Court sitting at Wuse Zone 2 on a stretcher to answer charges brought against him by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) on Wednesday, May 2.

During his arraignment on Wednesday, Melaye was charged for criminal conspiracy, causing damage to government property, attempted suicide and escape from lawful custody.

Even though the presiding magistrate, Mabel Segun-Bello, granted the lawmaker bail in the sum of N90 million, he was re-arrested by police officers after his arraignment and was driven to Lokoja early on Thursday.

Earlier this year, the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation filed a lawsuit against Melaye for allegedly providing false information to the police about an assassination attempt on his life.

In the suit (CR/106/18) filed before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Maitama on January 31, 2018, Melaye is accused of falsely incriminating Kogi’s Governor Yahaya Bello’s Chief of Staff, Edward Onoja David, as well as making false statement in regards to the attempted assassination.

On March 1, Melaye was granted a N100,000 bail after he was asked to provide a surety who is not less than a level 14 in the Federal Civil Service. The presiding judge, Olasumbo Goodluck, adjourned till May 16 and May 17 for the commencement of trial.

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