UPDATE: Sen. Melaye arraigned in Lokoja

Sen. Melaye arraigned in Lokoja court on a stretcher

The embattled senator Dino Melaye representing Kogi West senatorial district of Kogi State has finally been taken to Lokoja the state capital by the Nigeria Police.

Information gathered from different media platforms revealed that he was ferried to the state at 4:00pm yesterday and he will be arraigned in court today any for illegal possession of fire arms brought against him.

Melaye was re-arrested at the premises of the magistrate court in Abuja shortly after he was granted bail in the sum of N90 million for an attempt to commit suicide and escape from the lawful custody.

The police re-arrested Melaye after his arraignment at Chief Magistrate Court, Wuse, in order to dock him for the pending offences of Criminal Conspiracy and Unlawful Possession of Prohibited Firearms in Lokoja on Thursday.

Force PRO, ACP Jimoh Moshood, in a statement, said the embattled senator would be arraigned without further delay.

Media reports have said, the senator had staged a break-out from the police vehicle conveying him to face trial for criminal conspiracy and possession of illegal arms in Lokoja. He had earlier declared that his life was at stake in the state and applied to be prosecuted in Abuja but the police are insistent on taking him to the state “where the offence was committed”.

The senator’s ordeal started after two suspects allegedly fingered him as giving them guns and hiring them to be his political thugs ahead of the 2019 general election.

There was mild drama yesterday as the Nigeria Police arraigned the senator representing Kogi West senatorial district in the National Assembly, Dino Melaye, before a Magistrate Court in Wuse 2, Abuja.

Senator Melaye who was brought to court in a stretcher, under heavy security was re-arrested by the Police as soon as he was granted bail. Melaye had reportedly jumped out of a police van that was taking him to Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, for trial on on April 24, 2018.

He was said to have broken the side glass in his attempt to get off the vehicle during the dramatic episode. The embattled senator was charged with criminal conspiracy, causing damage to government property, attempted suicide and escape from lawful custody, before Magistrate Mabel Segun-Bello.

The Police First Information Report said on April 24, 2018, about 13:30hrs at Area One round-about Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the court, “You Senator Dino Melaye, while being conveyed in a police white Hilux Bus with registration number NPF 3354 D to Lokoja Kogi State to be arraigned in Court for Conspiracy and Unlawful Possession of Prohibited Firearms in Charge Number CMCL/14SC/2018 filed at the Chief Magistrate Court Lokoja, you Senator Dino Melaye intentionally broke the side windscreen of the bus and jumped out of the bus after it was blocked by a Hilux vehicle with registration number, Kaduna MKA 603 GY, occupied by your younger brother, Samuel Melaye, and one Barrister Amefula David Emeka, and driven by yet-to-be- identified person who escaped from the scene after the blockade.”

It continued: “You Senator Dino Melaye, after breaking the side windscreen, attempted to kill yourself by jumping out of the bus and fell on the ground and thereafter started shouting that you want to kill yourself and implicate the police for your death.

“That police officers who were escorting you in the bus tried to re-arrest you back to the bus but you resisted further arrest with the help of your brother, Samuel Melaye, and some lawyers in your company and further threatened to injure the police officers if they tried to further arrest you and you finally escaped from the scene in another Hilux vehicle.”

The police stated in view of the above incidents, Melaye had committed an offence punishable under Sections 148, 153, 172, 173, 231 and 326 of the Penal Code Act. After listening to the charge, Melaye pleaded not guilty.

The prosecution counsel, Alex Izinyon SAN, demanded for dates for trial but Nkem Okoro, counsel representing Melaye, persuaded the court to hear his application for bail.

He argued that since the crime for which the senator was being tried was not a capital offence, he was entitled to bail under the law.
He relied on Section 162 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act, which sets out conditions to be considered before a bail application is granted or refused. However, the prosecution counsel argued against granting bail.

Ruling on the bail application, Magistrate Segun-Bello noted that bail had been liberalised said under the ACJA, adding that the prosecution counsel had not placed anything before the court to show why the defendant should not be granted bail.

“There is no evidence tendered before this court to substantiate the prosecution counsel’s claim that the defendant will jump bail,” the magistrate noted. In addition, the court held that the police counsel could not convince it as to how the defendant is likely to influence prosecution witnesses in the cause of his trial if released on bail.

Consequently, Magistrate Segun-Bello granted Melaye bail in the tune of N90 million with two sureties in like sum.
The court ordered that one of the sureties must be a civil servant not lower than Great Level 14, and one must have easily identifiable residence in Abuja.

More so, the court held that the senator must deposit his international passport with the Federal Capital Territory Police Command. He is also to report to Wuse police command every working day of the week until same is altered by the court.

The matter was adjourned to June 6. At about 4:20pm, Melaye was stretchered out of the courtroom under the watch of policemen armed to the teeth, into a waiting ambulance, under escort.

The police re-arrested Melaye after his arraignment at Chief Magistrate Court, Wuse, in order to dock him for the pending offences of Criminal Conspiracy and Unlawful Possession of Prohibited Firearms in Lokoja on today.


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