The police on Wednesday arraigned the lawmaker representing Kogi West senatorial district, Senator Dino Melaye, before a Magistrate Court in Wuse II, Abuja.
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 in the sum of N90million by the court.
He was accused of deliberately breaking the side windscreen of a bus conveying him to Lokoja, Kogi State where he was to be arraigned in court for alleged conspiracy and unlawful possession of prohibited firearms.
According to the charge, the police van conveying the senator was intercepted by a vehicle allegedly occupied by his brother, a lawyer, and another yet to be identified person who reportedly escaped from the scene after the blockade.
Melaye was accused of making an attempt to commit suicide by jumping out of the vehicle conveying him and falling on the ground, with a threat to implicate the police for his supposed death.
He was also said to have resisted a further attempt by the police to re-arrest him with the help of some persons who allegedly threatened to injure the police officers if they tried to arrest him.
The lawmaker was said to have escaped from the scene in another vehicle, thereby committing an offence punishable under sections 148, 153, 172, 173, 231, and 326 under the Penal Code Act.
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 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 pointed out 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 Grade 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 then adjourned to June 6.
At about 4:20pm, Melaye was wheeled 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 Thursday.
The Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Jimoh Moshood, in a statement, said the embattled senator would be arraigned without further delay.
The statement reads, “Senator Dino Melaye was arraigned in court by the Police today, 2nd May, 2018 at Chief Magistrate Court, Wuse, Abuja for Criminal conspiracy, causing damage to Government property, attempted suicide and escape from lawful custody.
“His arraignment in Court today was subsequent to his discharge from the National Hospital after he was confirmed fit for trial.
“It will be recalled that, on the 24th April, 2018, at about 1200Hrs, Sen. Dino Melaye while in lawful custody of the Nigeria Police Force and being taken for arraignment for Conspiracy and Unlawful Possession of Prohibited Firearms in Court in Lokoja, from Abuja, escaped from lawful custody when hoodlums and miscreants in Two (2) Toyota Hilux Vehicles blocked the Police vehicle conveying Senator Dino Melaye around Area 1 Round About, Abuja and in the process the Senator broke the side glass of the vehicle and jumped out of the Police bus through the window and was rescued from the Police men by hoodlums and miscreants to an unknown destination before he was rearrested at Zankli Hospital in Abuja later in the day on same date. This case was investigated and that is why the Senator was arraigned in court today.
“Meanwhile, the Police Investigation Team re-arrested 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.”