House warns police as Melaye goes for trial in Lokoja

*Melaye on arrival at the Magistrate’s Court in Lokoja today. Photo credit: Daily Trust

The lawmaker representing Kogi West senatorial district, Senator Dino Melaye was arraigned today at a Magistrate’s Court in Lokoja.

It would be recalled that the senator secured a N90 million bail after he was arraigned at a similar court in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja on Wednesday but the police re-arrested him thereafter and reportedly detained him at the Force Headquarters, Abuja.

“The Police investigation team rearrested Senator Dino Melaye today, 2nd May 2018 after his arraignment at Chief Magistrate Court, Wuse for the pending offences of Criminal Conspiracy and Unlawful Possession of Prohibited Firearms already filed in a Court of competent jurisdiction in Lokoja for which he will be arraigned without further delay,” said the police statement.

It was gathered that the police drove him by road to Lokoja where he is going to stand trial for alleged gun running.

It was not immediately clear why he was arraigned before another Magistrate’s Court in Lokoja.

It was gathered that Melaye was brought to the court in a police ambulance around 9:17 a.m. and was immediately stretchered into the courtroom by policemen.

Before his arrival, heavily armed policemen had taken positions within and outside the court premises to forestall unforeseen circumstances.

The arrival of the senator in court attracted the attention of workers and others who were there for some private transactions.

Other courts within the premises were reported shut while journalists and other persons who had already been seated in court to witness the proceedings were all asked to go out for security checks.

In the end, only few were allowed inside.

Details of charges against the senator were yet to be made known.

It would also be recalled that Melaye had fought all attempts to take him to Lokoja to stand trial, including approaching the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court for an order prohibiting the police from taking him out of Abuja.

He was always expressing concern for his safety in Kogi State.

Meanwhile, the speaker of the House of Representatives has told the police to ensure that nothing untoward happens to the legislator.

The House said today in Abuja that the sight of Melaye on a stretcher was reminiscent of that of a sick man who should have received medical attention before his arraignment.

The House’s reaction came after a member from Kogi State, Mr. Karimi Sunday, raised a point of personal explanation on the floor to bring the “plight” of Melaye to the attention of members.

Sunday had alleged that Melaye was being persecuted by the Kogi State government because of his strong views on certain issues affecting the state.

“Melaye is facing persecution from the state government because of his beliefs.

“We must do all that is within our constitutional powers to ensure that the rule of law prevails.

“What is happening to Melaye today can happen to any of us tomorrow, if we keep quiet.”

The Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, while ruling on the matter, said the House was satisfied with the steps taken so far by the Senate and was solidly behind the upper chamber.

“All I can say at this point is that nothing must happen to Senator Melaye.

“If any law has been breached, the Police must ensure that his life is secured first.

“If anything happens to him, the security agencies will be held accountable.

“I have not seen in any country where someone is arraigned on a stretcher to take pleas. How do you even take his pleas?

“He must be alive first to answer to your charges because his life comes before the prosecution,” he said.



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