Ozekhome raises the alarm over threat to Melaye’s life

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*Melaye, Idris

Ime Akpan

As the siege to the Abuja residence of the Senator Dino Melaye by the police enters its fourth day, counsel to the senator, Mr. Mike Ozekhome has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the inspector general of police, Ibrahim Idris to call off the invasion.

It would be recalled that the police had since last Friday, laid siege to Melaye’s Maitama residence in a bid to arrest him to answer to allegations of being involved in a case of attempted culpable homicide.

It was gathered on Monday that additional police reinforcements were dispatched to Melaye’s posh mansion located at 11 Sangha Street, Maitama on Sunday following the suspicion that the lawmaker is holed up holed up in the house.

It was further learnt that fully-armed policemen, who were ferried to the location by several patrol vehicles, sealed off the major entry and exit points to the senator’s house.

Ozekhome, in a statement entitled ‘Nigeria in the throes of anarchy’ alleged that other electricity and water supply had been disconnected to the lawmakers’ house and called on the government to save Melaye’s life from danger.

Ozekhome, who said the conduct of the police leaves much to be desired recalled Melaye’s many travails hands of the police.

“Senator Dino Melaye was charged in different hierarchies of the Nigerian court, within five months, over six times, over trumped-up charges. Some of these frivolous charges have either been withdrawn by the police, or struck out by the court.

“It is highly condemnable that the recent attacks on Senator Melaye’s life appear obviously state-sponsored by his political enemies using the instrumentality of a willing police, to prevent him from campaigning and thus frustrate his political ambition of returning to the Senate.

“The entire conduct of the Nigeria Police Force thus far, leaves much to be desired. It is compromised, despicable, selective, arbitrary and amounts to a brazen abuse of office and repression of a Nigerian citizen, Senator Dino Melaye, whose fundamental rights, they have serially trampled upon. The life of Senator Dino Melaye is now in grave danger.

“The last time we checked, Nigeria is supposed to be operating a constitutional democracy, and not fascism or under a police state. This is no time for a “golden silence” by Mr. President, who is the ultimate supervisor of the Nigeria Police Force under sections 214 and 215 of the 1999 Constitution,” Ozekhome added.

“On Friday, the 28th of December, 2018, a team of plain-clothed policemen, stormed Senator Dino Melaye’s house at No 11 Sangha Street, Maitama, Abuja, and barricaded the entire street before eventually forcefully gaining entry into his compound. The said plain-clothed policemen proceeded to beat up Melaye’s security whom they immediately handcuffed. They also arrested the cook and other domestic staff in Senator Dino’s residence.

“His relatives approached the head of the said security to find out why they were treating Dino, a serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in such high-handed and disdainful manner.

“The head of the rampaging police while declining any specific answer, told Dino’s relatives that they came from the Commissioner of Police FCT, on whose instructions, they were acting. Dino Melaye’s brothers demanded to see the warrant of arrest if they had any, but the police refused to show any such warrant. The police also declined to disclose the reason why they are laying siege on the house of a sitting Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The Nigeria Police led by the Commissioner of Police FCT, proceeded to do the unthinkable; they disconnected electricity supply to the premises of Senator Dino Melaye, thereby putting his life and health in grave danger. They have also disconnected water supply to his home thus denying him access to water, a concomitant to the basic constitutional right guaranteed by section 33 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as altered,” said Ozekhome.

Also, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) condemned the continued faceoff between the police and the representative of the Kogi west senatorial district.

In statement by its national publicity secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, the party warned against turning the country into a police state where those opposed to the president are treated like enemies of the state.

The statement reads: The party invites Nigerians to note that the only sin committed by its presidential campaign director of civil societies,   Senator Melaye, is his return to the PDP and his forthright stand against the misrule of the Buhari administration, which are all well within his rights as a citizen.

“Since Senator Melaye, left the APC, the Buhari administration has continued to hound and harass him, as well as the members of his family with trumped up charges, all aimed to silence and put him out of circulation ahead of the 2019 general election.

“The PDP has become extremely worried about the safety of Senator Melaye and his family members under police lockdown and charges Nigerians to hold President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) responsible should any harm befall him or any member of his family.

“This is particularly against the background of Senator Melaye’s outcry that the police planned to arrest and inject him with poisonous substance.

“The PDP hopes that opposition figures such as Senator Melaye will not suddenly become victims of ‘accidental discharge’, unexplained assassinations or mysterious motor accidents as move on to the general elections.”

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