Nigerians will really have to look far back to recall, if at all, the last time a senator has been humiliated in this way after a senior magistrate court 2 in Lokoja, Kogi state on Thursday remanded Senator Dino Melaye, in Police custody till June 11th, 2018.
The senator who was brought into the court in a police ambulance, was accused, among other things, of armed sponsoring.
CHECKPOINTCHARLEY reported that the embattled senator was on Thursday arraigned at the Magistrate court in Lokoja. He was brought into the court premises in an ambulance amid heavy security.
Recall that Melaye was on Wednesday hastily arraigned at the Chief Magistrates Court Wuse, notwithstanding his health condition, for criminal conspiracy and granted bail for N90 million but was re-arrested by the Police to immediately face further criminal charges against him in Kogi.
The Police in a statement by its spokesman, Jimoh Moshood had said, “Senator Dino Melaye was arraigned in court by the Police today, 2nd May, 2018 at the Chief Magistrate Court, Wuse, Abuja for Criminal conspiracy, causing damage to government property, attempted suicide and escape from lawful custody.”
Trouble started for the outspoken senator when two “dreaded thugs” told the police that they were working for Melaye.
The men were arrested on 19 January at Ogojueje in Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State, after a shootout with the police and had allegedly confessed being hired by the senator to cause mayhem in the state, Police spokesman Moshood had told the press.
He said, “one of the persons arrested was identified as 31 years-old Kabiru Saidu, a.k.a Osama. The other was Nuhu Salisu, who is 25 years-old. The third person charged to court was identified as Alhaji Muhammed Audu, a politician, who is now said to be at large.
According to him, the police said they seized from the thugs and their gang members , two AK47 rifles, five pump action guns, two locally made pistols and heaps of charms.
The men not only confessed to have been involved in several kidnappings in the state and environs, they also claimed to be hired thugs for politicians, Moshood had claimed.
Moshood had added, “According to the gang leader, Osama, he has been working as a political thug for one Alhaji Mohammed Audu a Politician in the State.
He said Alhaji Mohammed Audu invited him to Abuja and introduced him to Senator Dino Melaye and they met on Airport road, Abuja inside the Senator Dino Melaye’s Car in the month of December, 2017.
“The suspect further confessed that Sen. Dino Melaye told him that they should start working for the Senator as his political thugs and they should recruit and train more other(sic) thugs to work for him in preparation toward 2019 General election to enable him ( Sen. Dino Melaye ) challenge his political opponents and disorganised Kogi State. The police said Osama further confessed that Melaye handed over a bag containing one AK47 rifle, two Pump Action guns and the N430,000.00 to share with his boys.
“Consequent on the indictments and criminal confessions against Senator Dino Melaye by the principal suspect KABIRU SAIDU a.k.a OSAMA “31 YRS”, Nigeria Police Force, wrote a letter dated 2nd of March, 2018 addressed to the Senate President, Federal Republic of Nigeria informing and requesting him to release Senator Dino Melaye to report to Commissioner of Police, Kogi State Command on the 7th March, 2018 to answer to criminal offences levelled against him, to enable the Police carry out a discreet investigation into the confessions of the principal suspect against Senator Dino Melaye. But Senator Dino Melaye have refused to honour the Police invitation till date.
“A case of Criminal Conspiracy and unlawful possession of prohibited firearms have therefore been filed by the Nigeria Police Force at Federal High Court Lokoja on 16th March, 2018 against the two suspects mentioned above, Senator Dino Melaye and Alh. Mohammed Audu who is also a suspect in the matter and is now on the run.”
Senator Melaye had accused his political rival, Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello of being behind his travails. But the governor denied having any hand in his troubles.
Mr. Melaye had reportedly aborted an earlier attempt to bundle him to Kogi to face trial by jumping out of the police van conveying him.
He later explained his action through his spokesman, saying that he feared that there is a plot by Mr. Bello and the police to murder him in Lokoja.
SARS operatives had finally arrested Melaye on 24th April after the drama of his detention a day before at the Abuja airport and the siege laid on his Abuja home by police operatives.
Majority of Nigerians believe that Melaye’s trial is politically motivated.
Meanwhile, Lagos lawyer, Femi Falana,SAN, has condemned the degrading and humiliating treatment meted out to Melaye.
In a statement on Thursday, he said it was a violation of his fundamental human right.
The fiery lawyer said, “The arraignment of Senator Dino Melaye on a stretcher in Abuja on Wednesday and Lokoja on Thursday morning is unacceptable in a civilised society.
“It is particularly degrading and humiliating as it violates the fundamental right to the dignity of his person guaranteed by Section 34 of the constitution and Section 7 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.”
According to Falana, Melaye’s ordeal was a reflection of the suffering ordinary Nigerians faced in the hands of security agents on a daily basis.