The lawmaker representing Kogi West, Senator Dino Melaye, has spoken up on events leading to his arrest and reported escape from a moving police vehicle that landed him in Zanklin Hospital, Mabushi, Abuja, on Tuesday.
He was admitted after he allegedly jumped off a moving police van at Area One Roundabout, Garki, in an attempt to prevent the police from taking him to Lokoja, Kogi State. The lawmaker was said to have engaged the policemen in a scuffle during which he sustained injury leading to his admission in the hospital.
The police were said to be taking him to Kogi State where they allegedly planned to parade him before the media along with six suspects for alleged gun running and criminal conspiracy.
A footage of Melaye’s encounter with his police escorts and subsequent hospital admission later appeared on the Internet.
The senator’s ordeal started when he was arrested by immigration officers at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport on Monday morning on his way to Morocco, and was later released.
But later on Monday, policemen stormed his residence at Shanga Street, Maitama, Abuja where they kept a vigil in a bid to arrest him.
Melaye, in a statement signed by his media aide, Gideon Ayodele, on Wednesday morning, said he voluntarily submitted himself to the police hence did not deserve to be forcibly taken to Kogi state to stand trial in a slew of criminal charges that include murder and armed robbery.
He stated that shortly after getting into the police custody in Abuja, officers dragged him to a vehicle and headed towards Lokoja, the Kogi state capital. The lawmaker said he feared that his life would be in danger if taken to Lokoja, amongst other alleged sinister motives of both the police and the state government there.
Ayodele disclosed that his principal also refused to go to Lokoja because he had previously secured a court relief for the case to be moved to Abuja.
According to the statement; “Earlier in the morning, Senator Dino Melaye as a law-abiding citizen voluntarily submitted himself to the operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) who had laid siege to his private residence since around 3.35pm of Monday, April 23, 2018.
“He, along with his lawyers and personal aides, was driven in his private car to the SARS office in Guzape district of Abuja, sandwiched among the numerous police vehicles earlier deployed to his house,” Ayodele said.
“The public will vividly recall that this same case involving Senator Dino Melaye had already been transferred to Abuja by the Chief Justice of the Federal High Court after Senator Melaye expressed worry about his safety in Lokoja. Now, the question is why will they want to forcefully take him to Lokoja? The Senator believes they are doing the Kogi Governor’s bidding in order to assassinate him.”
The aide said the police have never written to Melaye contrary to their claims in the media.
“For the avoidance of doubt, he had never evaded police invitation before now because there was none extended to him in the first place. Rather, what the Police FPRO, Mr. Jimoh Moshood, had been doing was to summon the Senator through media briefings, a practice which is unconventional,” he said.
Ayodele disclosed that family members and political associates of the senator are traumatized by his ordeal. He also said his principal did not jump out of a moving police vehicle as reported in the media based on witnesses’ accounts.
While failing to state how Melaye managed to escape from the police vehicle before he started writhing on the ground as captured in viral videos, the statement said the scene created yesterday was “a last resort by Senator Dino Melaye in order foil attempt to kidnap him and kill him by agents of Kogi State governor in connivance with the police.”