Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West) was last night confined to a hospital in Abuja where he was admitted after he attempted to escape from police custody.
Melaye was stopped from travelling to Morocco on Monday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, because “he is on the wanted list”. A police contingent thereafter laid a siege to his residence.
Yesterday he surrendered himself to the police whose men took him in their van and were heading for Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, where the senator is due to face criminal charges for being in possession of firearms illegally.
The police said Melaye attempted to escape by jumping out of the vehicle through the window after some hoodlums in two Toyota Hilux vehicles blocked the vehicle conveying the senator to Kogi State.
The police added that the senator was rescued from policemen by the hoodlums and taken to an unknown destination.
Police spokesman Jimoh Moshood, in a statement, said: “At about 1200Hrs of today (Tuesday) Sen. Dino Melaye while in lawful custody of the Nigeria Police Force and being taken for arraignment in Federal High Court, Lokoja from Abuja, escaped from lawful custody when hoodlums and miscreants in two Toyota Hilux Vehicles blocked the police vehicle conveying Senator Dino Melaye around Area 1 Roundabout, Abuja.
“In the process, the senator jumped out of the police vehicle through the window and was rescued from the policemen by hoodlums and miscreants to an unknown destination.
“The Police team reinforced and trailed Senator Dino Melaye to Zankli Hospital, Abuja where he was re-arrested.”
But the senator’s aide denied the police account, saying “nothing could be farther from the truth”.
Melaye’s Special Adviser Gideon Ayodele said ”today’s incident was a last resort by Senator Dino Melaye in order to foil attempt to kidnap him and kill him by agents of Kogi State governor in connivance with the police”. But he did not explain the “incident”.
Ayodele’s statement entitled “Today’s Incident Involving Senator Dino Melaye: A last resort” said: “Sequel to the avalanche of calls by well-meaning Nigerians and supporters of Senator Dino Melaye for enquiries about the well-being and safety of the senator and against the backdrop of baseless rumours being spread on the social media, we are constrained to make the record straight as follows:
“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.
“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.
“But given the media hype the whole saga had generated, especially his unwarranted travails in the hands of Immigration officials at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on Monday, April 23 and the attendant but dramatic police siege to his private residence thereafter, where family members and political associates were subjected to traumatic experience for hours, it became necessary for Senator Dino Melaye to end the drama, hence his choice of appearing before the police today (yesterday).
“Later on they moved to take him to Lokoja, Kogi State. 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.
“Contrary to online reports about jumping out of a moving police vehicle; Nothing could be farther from the truth as such insinuation is practically impossible for a man saddled between gun-wielding policemen. Today’s incident was a last resort by Senator Dino Melaye in order to foil attempt to kidnap him and kill him by agents of Kogi State governor in connivance with the police.”
In Lokoja. Police spokesman told reporters that Melaye was in custody in Abuja to be charged to court as soon as investigation was concluded.
He added that “The Police woud continue to sustain the rule of law and maintain law and order throughout the country”.
He recalled that Melaye was declared wanted by the police, following his alleged failure to answer to police invitation to answer allegations made against him by two suspected criminals, Kabiru Saidu a.k.a Osama and Nuhu Salisu a.k.a Small, who were earlier paraded in Lokoja.
They had allegedly confessed to have been working as political thugs for Alhaji Mohammed Audu who allegedly invited them to Abuja, where theywere introduced to Melaye in December, 2017.
They also allegedly confessed that the senator handed over a bag containing one AK47 rifle, two Pump Action guns and N430, 000.00 to them.