Senator Dino Malaye to be remanded in the police custody along side two others. A senior magistrate’s court sitting in Lokoja, Kogi State, yesterday, ordered that Senator Dino Melaye, representing Kogi West senatorial district be remanded alongside two others in the police custody till June 11.
The senator was arraigned in a six count charges of illegal possession of firearms, criminal conspiracy and illegal transfer of firearms, and others. Melaye was brought to court in hospital ambulance and rolled on stretcher. This came as Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, warned that nothing should happen to Senator Melaye.
His words “All I can say is that nothing should happen to the senator. If anyone in this country commits an offence, the law is there for the person to be prosecuted or arraigned in court within the ambit of the law.
“I don’t think the law supports a situation whereby someone is in a dire health situation and is being arraigned most especially when that person is a senator.”
The prosececution cousel, Alex Izinyon, SAN, complained that the allegations levelled against the senator are too much and not easily bailable, he said while citing relevant laws.
He prayed the court to remand Melaye in the prison custody while the two accused persons who implicated Melaye, namely Kabiru Seidu aka Osama and Nuhu Salisu aka Small be remanded in the police custody.
But Melaye’s counsel, Mike Ozoikeme, SAN, while objecting, moved for Melaye’s bail, citing section 97 (2)of the Penal Code and section 56 of the Kogi State Administration of Criminal Justice Law which say the offences are bailable.
He also presented two medical reports from the National Hospital which signified that Melaye is bedridden owing to a spinal cord injury he sustained, adding that the vocal senator would not jump bail.
But the prosecution counsel, objected the bail application saying Melaye had earlier escaped from a lawful police custody and that for the defendant’s counsel to say he was a vocal senator “means he is influential and can move and unmoved anything.”
Chief Magistrate Suleiman Abdullahi, in his ruling after a short recess said the court had listened carefully to the submissions of both counsel and concluded that the case was not bailable.
He therefore, ordered that all the three accused persons be remanded at the police custody while Melaye should be allowed access to his medication under the guide of the Inspector General of Police, and adjourned the case till June 11 for mention.
He also banned journalists from taking picture or videoing said, “I will not allow that in my court.”
At the middle of the trial, Melaye woke up from the stretcher and looked around the court, and minutes later the doctor that led a medical team to the court rushed to him and supplied him an inhaler.
Speaking outside the court room, Dino’s counsel, Mike Ozoikeme said the Senator will get justice, and the justice will be for Nigerians.
Ozoikome who made biblical allusion said just like the Israelite, Dino will “cross his own red sea.”
He also said efforts are being made to secured his bail before the expiration of the date giving by the Lokoja magistrate court.
Every area leading to the court room from the NTA roundabout to the Crowther junction were secured by hundred police men.
Early inside the court room, the Commission of Police, Legal had sent out journalist saying he needed to carry out ‘Security check.”
Meanwhile, reacting to the arraignment of Melaye in stretchers, Dogara said, “It is unthinkable that a distinguished senator or an honourable member of this House would run away from trial. So, my admonition to the security agencies is to do everything possible to ensure that his life is secured first before prosecution.
“Prosecution cannot come at the expense of death and that is very important because if anything happened to him, the responsibility will lie on the security agencies. That is without mincing of words, because I have not seen a country where someone will be arraigned in a stretcher, where he is not even in the right frame of mind to even take a plea.
“What use is it if you’re taken someone to court and he cannot plead guilty or not guilty. So, the emphasis should be on his health first.”
The Speaker’s warning followed a point of order by Rep. Sunday Karimi ( PDP, Kogi), who said Melaye was transported in an ambulance to Lokoja to face trial despite the state of his health.