Senator Melaye, 2 Others Remanded in Police Custody as Dogara Cautions Security Agents

Tge Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Dino Melaye, has been remanded in police custody.
A Lokoja Chief Magistrates’ Court gave the remand order after Senator Melaye and two others, Kabiru Seidu, 31, and Nuhu Salihu, 25, were arraigned on a seven-count charge of criminal conspiracy and unlawful possession of firearms.
They are to remain in police custody until June 11.
The charge against them, according to the prosecution, is contrary to Section 97 (1) of the Penal Code and Section 27 (1) (a) (1) of the Firearms Act CAP P28, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004.
Melaye was brought to court in a police ambulance at about 9:17 a.m. He was immediately stretchered into the court by policemen.
Before his arrival, heavily armed policemen had taken positions within and outside the court.
His arrival attracted the attention of workers and others who came for transactions.
Also, reporters and others, who arrived in court earlier, were asked to go out for security checks.
Before being brought to court, Melaye was first taken to the SARS headquarters near the NTA office in Lokoja.
Lead prosecution counsel, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), urged the court to remand Seidu, and Salihu in police custody.
This, he said, was to assist the police in their investigations.
Izinyon pleaded that Melaye be remanded in prison custody because he is influential and could jeopardise investigation.
He noted that the minimum sentence upon conviction was 10 years imprisonment under the Firearms Act.
But Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), leading six other lawyers for the defendants, prayed the court to grant the Senator bail.
He said the Senator should be granted bail because he was asthmatic and needed medical attention.
Ozekhome said Melaye was on Wednesday granted bail by a court in Abuja in liberal terms and has been in police custody.
He said it was discriminatory for the prosecution to ask the court to keep other defendants in police custody and the senator, remanded in prison custody.
“We can apply for bail for this traumatised Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria lying here before your worship on a stretcher.
“Melaye here is not charged with murder in this case; the senator, who is seen every day on the floor of the Senate making laws for the country, will stand his trial.
“To send him to prison is to encourage him to breach the bail condition granted him.
“I humbly urge my lord to grant bail in self-recognisance to the fourth defendant because he will not jump bail; he will stand his trial and meet the bail conditions,” he said.
Ruling, Senior Magistrate Sulyman Abdullah said the essence of bail was to secure the attendance of the defendant before a court of competent jurisdiction.
“However, this application is not granted as a matter of course. It is anchored upon certain well timed, honoured principles of the law that would guarantee the production and appearance of the defendant.
“The court, however, has a grave responsibility to exercise such discretion with utmost caution and to act within the accepted principles of administration of justice.
“Having gone through all the submissions of counsel in respect of this oral application, I decline to exercise my discretion in favour of the fourth defendant; the oral application is accordingly refused,” he said.
Abdullah ordered the Inspector-General of Police to furnish the senator with all medical needs.
The matter was adjourned till June 11.
Meanwhile, House of Representatives, Speaker Yakubu Dogara has told heads of security agencies involved in the case of Melaye to ensure his safety. He said nothing untoward must happen to the lawmaker.
According to him, they will be held responsible if anything happened to him.
The Speaker said the health of persons should supersede their arraignment in court.
He said: “All I can say is that nothing must happen to the Senator. If anyone in this country commits an offence, the law is there for the person to be prosecuted or arraigned in court within the ambit of the law.
“I don’t think the law supports a situation whereby someone is in a dire health situation and is being arraigned, most especially that person is a senator.
“It is unthinkable that a distinguished senator or an honourable member of this House would run away from trial.
“So, my admonition to the security agencies is to do everything possible to ensure that his life is secured first before prosecution.”
Dogara’s warning followed a point of order by Sunday Karimi (PDP, Kogi).

Author: News Editor

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