By Mike Ozekhome SAN
On Friday, the 28th of December, 2018, a team of plain-clothed policemen, stormed Senator Dino Melaye’s house at No 11 Sangha Street, Maitama, Abuja, and barricaded the entire street before eventually forcefully gaining entry into his compound. The said plain-clothed policemen proceeded to beat up Melaye’s security whom they immediately handcuffed. They also arrested the cook and other domestic staff in Senator Dino’s residence.
His relatives approached the head of the said security to find out why they were treating Dino, a serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in such high-handed and disdainful manner. The head of the rampaging police while declining any specific answer, told Dino’s relatives that they came from the Commissioner of Police FCT, on whose instructions, they were acting. Dino Melaye’s brothers demanded to see the warrant of arrest if they had any, but the police refused to show any such warrant. The Police also declined to disclose the reason why they are laying siege on the house of a sitting Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Nigeria Police led by the Commissioner of Police FCT, proceeded to do the unthinkable; they disconnected electricity supply to the premises of Senator Dino Melaye, thereby putting his life and health in grave danger. They have also disconnected water supply to his home thus denying him access to water, a concomitant to the basic constitutional right guaranteed by section 33 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as altered. Senator Dino Melaye has been without water and food, for the past 72 hours and counting as the said policemen, have blocked the gate, denying family members and his friend’s access to him. Senator Dino Melaye is a known asthmatic person and has been denied access to his medications and personal physicians for the past 72 hours and counting.
The police are now firing several gunshots within Senator Dino Melaye’s compound and have now started shooting canisters of tear gas through the windows of his house.
It would be recalled that Senator Dino Melaye, had on the 24th of December 2018, cried out to the world, that he had received credible information that there was a grand plan by the police, sponsored by Yahaya Bello, the Governor of Kogi State, to arrest him and inject him with lethal substances to terminate his life. It would also be recalled that Senator Dino Melaye, who has since parted ways with his earlier party, the ruling APC, has been quite vociferous in the condemnation of the poor performance of the Federal Government and his state government under Yahaya Belo. Consequent upon this, he has received fusillades of politically motivated attacks on his life and political career by his political enemies, using the instrumentality of the Nigeria Police and their operatives.
Members of the public would also recall how Senator Dino Melaye had personally narrated his ordeal on Thursday, the 19th day of July 2018, that whilst he was returning to his hometown, around Iya junction, Ayetoro Gbede, Ijumu LGA, Kogi State, in a convoy of over twenty vehicles, after the commissioning of his constituency projects, in Kogi West Senatorial District, he was attacked by armed Policemen and his vehicle shot at sporadically by the armed policemen who attacked him.
Our Chambers had written a petition to the IGP, intimating him of the premeditated violent attack on Melaye. Till date, we have not received any response to the said petition.
Senator Melaye had also informed our Chambers, that recently, on the 12th of October 2018, the Commissioner of Police, Kogi State, sent armed policemen who invaded his country home in Kogi State, looking for him. He believes the invasion was targeted at assassinating him, over his political views. It was only when the villagers raised the alarm that the said armed policemen, fled. Senator Dino Melaye then petitioned the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and copied the said petition to several International Organizations. And again, no response was received in respect of this petition till date.
Senator Melaye informed us, that his party, the People’s Democratic Party, had scheduled its party campaign in Kogi State, for the 5th of January, 2019.
Senator Dino Melaye who is also contesting for the Senatorial slot of the Kogi West, Senatorial District, is scheduled to be one of the keynote speakers on that day. Senator Dino Melaye verily believes that the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, who has always seen him as a palpable political threat, is doing everything possible, including the use of the publicly financed Nigerian Police apparatchik, to harass, intimidate, silence, possibly kill him, thereby ultimately frustrating his senatorial ambition.
Senator Dino Melaye recalls how the said Kogi State, Governor, in his desperate attempts to undo him politically, had stage-managed his botched recall from the Senate, which process failed ignominiously even while he was chained to a hospital bed by the same Nigeria Police. The Nigeria Police had since April 2018, withdrawn Senator Dino Melaye’s police security attached to him. The Nigeria Police had refused all requests, to restore Dino Melaye’s security, despite several letters written to them, including letters from the Senate President and the Clerk of the National Assembly.
The same Nigerian Police, have refused to release Senator Dino Melaye’s International Passports, which is in their custody, notwithstanding a clear order of court directing them to release same forthwith, since 25th of July 2018. Our Chambers had written several letters to the Inspector General of Police, urging it, to obey the subsisting court order, but the IGP, had consistently flouted the said court order. Till date, Dino’s passports are illegally and wrongfully detained by the same police, notwithstanding the subsisting court order, and several letters from our chambers urging them to release same.
Senator Dino Melaye was within five months, and over six times charged in different hierarchies of the Nigerian court, on trumped-up charges, with a view to harass and intimidate him. Some of these frivolous charges have either been withdrawn by the police themselves, or struck out by the court for being frivolous and vexatious.
It is highly condemnable that the recent attacks on Senator Melaye’s life appear obviously state-sponsored by his political enemies using the instrumentality of a willing police, to prevent him from campaigning and thus frustrate his political ambition of returning to the Senate.
The entire conduct of the Nigeria Police Force thus far leaves much to be desired. It is compromised, despicable, selective, arbitrary and amounts to a brazen abuse of office and repression of a Nigerian citizen, Senator Dino Melaye, whose fundamental rights, they have serially trampled upon. We hereby alert Nigerian and the International community that the life of Senator Dino Melaye is in grave danger.
The last time we checked, Nigeria is supposed to be operating a constitutional democracy, given to rule of law, and not fascism or under a police state. This is no time for a “golden silence” by Mr President, who is the ultimate supervisor of the Nigerian Police Force under sections 214 and 215 of the 1999 Constitution.
This is a humble sos, sir. Kindly treat sir, with promptitude and the urgency of now.
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