The siege by the police to the Abuja residence of Senator Dino Melaye, representing Kogi West in the National Assembly, entered its fourth day, yesterday, with the police showing no sign of vacating the home. It will be recalled that the Police had already disconnected electricity and water to the premises on 11 Sangha Street, Off Mississippi, Maitama, Abuja.
Melaye, who has had running battle with the police, it was gathered, had promised to report to the police this week.
He had said: “Presently I’m outside Abuja. I’m a Senator of the Federal Republic of Abuja, I cannot run away. I will make myself available as soon as I’m back to town next week (this week). I am not a criminal, I have not done anything wrong.”
The police said Melaye is wanted for a case of criminal conspiracy and attempted culpable homicide committed on July 19, 2018.
Meanwhile, some lawyers and senators have kicked against the continued siege to Melaye’s home, even as the police insisted on its actions, saying “We will not retreat until Sen. Dino Melaye surrenders himself for arrest and investigation.”
Mr Norrison Quakers, SAN, said: “It is indeed unconstitutional and beyond international standard of law enforcement and in violation of the administration of criminal justice act, 2015. I think the Senator should seek redress in court. We are not in a police state but in a constitutional democracy.”
Another lawyer, Mr Israel Mbaebie said, “What is happening to Dino is a clear extension of what has been the sad hallmark of the excesses of this present government. It is sad. It is demeaning to all Nigerians that we are witnessing what we have never witnessed not even user the military junta years of Abacha. To imagine that we are in a democracy so called makes it all even more bizarre if not brazen.”
Some Senators who took a swipe at the Police over the invasion of Melaye’s, describe the action as barbaric and unacceptable.
Speaking with Vanguard yesterday, Senator Samuel Anyanwu (PDP, Imo East), condemned the action of the police in very strong terms, saying that this is democracy and must not be truncated in any form.
Senator Anyanwu, who noted that the country was gradually becoming a police state, said: “ Nigeria is turning into a Police State. We believe that our democracy must be guided. Taking over the residence of Senator Dino Melaye is a sad development. The Police must as a matter of urgency, vacant the police.”
Also speaking with Vanguard, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim (PDP, Kwara South) who condemned the action, described it torso witch hunt and political, adding that Senator Melaye was at the National Assembly prior to the holiday and the Police never came for him.
He however, asked the Police to stop playing politics with everything, urging them to vacate the residence with immediate effect.
Senate President Bukola Saraki had earlier faulted the move, arguing that the timing of the action by the police and the claim that Senator Melaye had been invited were not true.
“The general belief now is that the Police action against Senator @dino_melaye is aimed at keeping him out of circulation so that he would not participate in the general elections in February 2019,” Saraki tweeted.
He added, “Though the police in their statement claim that there was a request to the Clerk of the National Assembly, CNA, inviting Senator Melaye to report to the police, my enquiry from the CNA showed that he had no such letter.”
Meanwhile, the police in a statement, by Jimoh Moshood, Force Public Relations Officer yesterday, maintained their ground, saying “Senator Melaye is wanted by the Police for a case of Criminal Conspiracy and Attempted Culpable Homicide, committed on July 19, 2018, when Senator Melaye and his armed thugs attacked Police personnel; shot and wounded Sgt. Danjuma Saliu, attached to 37 Police Mobile Force (PMF) on stop and search duty along Aiyetoro Gbede, Mopa Road in Kogi State.
“Police operatives with a duly obtained warrant of arrest deployed to arrest Senator Melaye in his residence in Abuja will not retreat until Senator Melaye surrenders himself for arrest and investigation.
“It is on record that the Police investigators submitted a Letter of Invitation July 23, 2018, by the Commissioner of Police, Kogi State Police Command addressed to the Clerk, National Assembly, Abuja, inviting Senator Melaye to report on July 26, 2018 at 1100Hrs at the Kogi State Police Command, CIID, Lokoja to answer to a case of criminal conspiracy and attempted culpable homicide against him under investigation in the Kogi State Police Command.
“The claim by the Senate President in the media that the Police did not submit a letter of invitation to the Clerk of the National Assembly is therefore, incorrect as can be seen on attached letter with acknowledgment stamp of the Clerk, National Assembly, Abuja “July 24.” Despite this, Senator Dino bluntly refused to report himself to the Police till date.
“For avoidance of doubt, attached to this statement are the copies of pictures of the shot Police Officer, Sgt. Saliu, the Police Invitation letter addressed to the Clerk of National Assembly, Abuja and the medical report from the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, Kogi State, confirming the admission of Sgt. Saliu into the hospital for treatment of the gunshot injury he sustained from the attack by Senator Melaye and his armed thugs while on stop and search duty along Aiyetoro Gbede, Mopa Road in Kogi State on July 19, 2018.
“The Police Officer, Sgt. Saliu, is yet to recover from the gunshot injury he sustained during the attack and still under intensive medical care in the hospital.
“The force will ensure a thorough investigation into this matter while making sure that the rule of law prevails and that no suspect no matter how highly placed, involved in any criminal matter escape justice.
“We will not retreat until Sen. Melaye surrenders himself for arrest and investigation,” he said.