Senator Dino Melaye: When Government Breeds Anarchy
We are Solicitors to Senator Dino Melaye (“our client”), on whose instructions we issue this press release, as his whereabouts is currently unknown to us after his literal abduction in a Gestapo style by men of the special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) earlier today.
It is most regrettable that this is what Nigeria has turned into-a Gestapo Police state – in the year of our Lord, 2018. A serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Dino Melaye, had his house besieged and sealed off from the afternoon of yesterday, 23rd April, 2018, till today. He informed us that his offence was not disclosed to him, except that he has been having a running battle with his Kogi State governor, Governor Yahaya Bello, on irreconcilable conflicts and differences about the Kogi State project. Bello is pro-Buhari and his second term ambition. Dino, though belonging to the same fractured APC political party, is unapologetically critical of both administrations of President Buhari and Governor Bello, whom he believes have failed the people in every aspect of governance.
He narrated to us that there have been several attempts to frame and set him up, to kill him, to intimidate him, to subdue him and to silence him completely. He states that when all these failed, the Police, which is supposed to be an unbiased institutional umpire representing the Nigerian people, made itself available to be used arbitrarily, capriciously and whimsically. Yesterday, the newest of the sub plots in this grand plot to annihilate Dino Melaye metamorphosed. Dino had been arrested by the Nigerian Immigration Service at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja, on his way to Morocco, on official legislative duties. After over 4 hours of tortuous incarceration at the Immigration Centre, and his subsequent arrest by the Police to whom he was handed over, he was allowed to go without any charges, arraignment in a court of law, or even apprising him with the reasons for his detention and eventual release. Of course, the Immigration Service effectively aborted his official trip to Morocco.
Our client states that the Immigration officials told him that the Police Force had written to the Service, requesting for his arrest, and that he should not be allowed to travel out of the country since his name was on the watch list. At this point, our client challenged the officials, demanding to know at what point his name was published as a wanted person on INTERPOL’s watch list. Unable to provide answers to our client’s questions, the Immigration officials nevertheless kept him in detention awaiting the arrival of the Police Force that allegedly gave the earlier directive for his arrest. But, in between the time of our client’s arrest and detention by Immigration officials, the attention of INTERPOL’s Commissioner of Police was said to have been sought in a bid to solicit his immediate co-operation. Before the Police Chief could arrive at the international airport, a vehicle already on standby was said to have whisked our client away to an unknown destination.
The embattled lawmaker had then been taken to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad facility where he would be grilled for allegedly arming some thugs to disrupt Kogi State. The Police had claimed that Melaye was being sought for allegedly not honouring a purported summons said to have been extended to him. He was later released on self recognizance.
Our client had earlier promised he would make himself available to the Police today being 24th April, 2018. Melaye even disclosed his intention to make himself available to the Police via his Twitter handle shortly before he was arrested and forcefully taken away by the Police.
“I will make myself available to the police today. My resolve to speak the truth and defend the poor masses of NIGERIA is Total. We shall overcome!!!,” he had posted.
Our client returned to town from Immigration detention. But before getting home, he said he was alerted of heavy presence of fully armed Police Officers, numbering over 150, swarming his Maitama home. All the access roads and streets leading to his residence were barricaded and blocked. They did not tell anyone, including his younger brother, Architect Moses Melaye, who had run to the scene of the unfolding drama. He was also not told what offence his elder brother, Dino, had committed to warrant the brute invasion of his house as if in a war situation.
Our client informed us that he dutifully reported at the FCT Police Command today, the 24th day of April, 2018, as he had promised. He was subsequently whisked off to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), where he was informed that the matter of alleged gun running charges earlier filed against him before the Kogi State High Court, had been withdrawn this morning and a fresh charge was to be filled against him. The new charge anchors on Dino allegedly sponsoring cell break of his suspects. It must be noted that the pending charge against our client had been transferred from the Federal High Court Lokoja, to the Federal High Court, Abuja, by the Chief Judge, Justice Abdul Karfarati, where the charge is currently pending. Ordinarily, such a charge can be amended to accommodate whatever new charges the compromised Police would have intended to put forward. Our client states that he verily believes that the simulated fresh charge was a mere delay and smokescreen to be forcibly abducted to Kogi State, locked up in the Police cell, where he believes he would be killed or poisoned.
Upon report to the FCT Police Command today, our client accompanied by lawyers from our Chambers, was suddenly whisked off from the FCT Police Command to SARS office at Abbatoir, old CBN Road, Abuja.
Our client was informed at SARS that he was being taken to court for arraignment. However, things turned out differently and dramatically when he discovered that the SARS vehicles conveying him and his Lawyers were headed for Lokoja. He immediately opened the door of the moving vehicle and jumped down out of the vehicle at Area One Round-about. He sustained serious injuries. In pains, our client sat on the floor in protest, insisting that he would not allow the SARS to force him to Lokoja where he believes they will inject him with dangerous substances, or kill him and mortally infringe on his constitutional right to fair hearing.
The entire ugly scenario immediately drew a large crowd of sympathizers who mocked the Police for allowing themselves to be used by the authorities in dehumanizing and ridiculing a sitting Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who has been speaking truth to authorities on behalf of the masses and the down trodden against miss-governance at both the Federal and his Kogi State levels.
Suddenly, in the presence of the fully armed SARS officials and onlookers, some youths appeared from nowhere and whisked Dino Melaye away to an unknown destination. We were later told that a badly hurt Dino was rushed to the emergency unit of Zankli hospital, Mabushi, Abuja, at about 4.25pm, where he is currently under intensive care. We are yet to ascertain the veracity of this statement.
We deprecate this barbaric, ungodly, satanic and luciferous high-handedness of a government that has obviously lost touch with the people it supposedly governs. This is nothing but an unfortunate descent into anarchy and executive lawlessness. There is no doubt that the coming days, weeks and months will be very trying and tempestuous for the Nigerian people, opposition and critics of government whether they belong to the same ruling party or a different political party.
We hereby, call on Buhari, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Mr. Abubakar Idris, the Inspector General of Police, to immediately call their officers and men to order, to allow the Nigerian project to work and to permit democracy the desired space to thrive and flourish. God save Nigeria.
Dated this 24th day of April, 2018.
Chief Mike A.A Ozekhome, SAN, OFR, FCIArb, Ph.D, LL.D
Constitutional Lawyer and Human Rights Activist