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Melaye INEC resumes recall process against Senator as he remains in hospital

The verification exercise of voters in the lawmaker's Kogi West constituency will commence on Saturday.

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INEC resumes recall against Melaye as he remains unconscious play

Senator Dino Melaye

(Instagram/@dinomelaye)

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has resumed recall proceedings against Kogi lawmaker, Senator Dino Melaye, while he lays unconscious in a hospital.

INEC announced on Wednesday, April 25, 2018, that the verification exercise of voters in the lawmaker's Kogi West constituency will commence on Saturday, April 28.

In a press conference that took place in Lokoja, Kogi's capital, on Wednesday, the Kogi State resident electoral commissioner, Prof. James Apam, said the exercise is expected to be conducted without any troubles.

He said, "The verification exercise will be done on 28th April 2018 in 560 PU's in the Kogi West senatorial District and the declaration of the outcome will be done at the INEC Local government office Lokoja on 29th April 2018

"On the appointed day, the verification shall commence at 8:00am and end at 2:00pm in the PU's in the Senatorial District provided all petitioners are on the queue by 2:00 pm. Only those who signed the petition are expected to turn up at their PU's for verification.

"It is important to state that, according to the constitution and the Electoral Act, the petition would only be said to have been verified if at least 50% plus one of the Signatures or thumb prints of the Registered voters in the Constituency are verified."

Prof. Apam noted that a stakeholders' meeting was held in Lokoja on Wednesday to inform them of the processes involved while he also disclosed that Melaye had been notified.

At the stakeholders' meeting, INEC's National Commissioner, Mohammed Haruna, disclosed that over 2,000 ad hoc staff will be involved in the recall process.

The ad hoc staff have been trained at the state and local government levels and materials procured and sent to the registration area centres.

No party agents would be allowed access to any of the polling units but local observers would be allowed to monitor the exercise.

Recall against Melaye

In June 2017, a total of 188,580 electorates in Melaye's constituency had signed a register to recall him from the National Assembly for a series of misconducts. INEC took delivery of the recall register on June 21, 2017.

After Melaye lost an application in an Abuja division of the Federal High Court to declare the petition submitted to INEC as illegal and unconstitutional, he refused to take receipt of the petition, as required by law.

When INEC filed an application in court to allow it serve the recall petition on Melaye through substituted means rather than personal service, the court had to suspend the hearing because Melaye had filed for an appeal to the initial judgement.

On March 16, 2018, the Court of Appeal panel made a unanimous decision to strike out Melaye's application to stop INEC from completing the process.

Melaye hospitalised

While INEC restarts Melaye's recall, the lawmaker is currently lying in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the National Hospital in Abuja where he is recovering after escaping from police custody.

With help from hoodlums, Melaye had briefly escaped from police officers while he was being transported from Abuja to Kogi on Tuesday, April 24. This was due to his refusal to be transported to Kogi due to fears that he would be assassinated by officers in collusion with the Kogi state government.

The Senator resurfaced at the Zankli Medical Center in an ambulance, apparently unconscious, around 4:25pm and was admitted into the emergency unit.

A team of at least 30 armed police officers caught up with him in the health facility and moved him to the National Hospital where he's reported to still be unconscious.

Melaye's criminal association

After Kabiru Saidu, a.k.a Osama, and Nuhu Salisu, aka Small, were arrested at Ogojueje in Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi on January 19, 2018, they confessed to the police that Senator Melaye hired them to cause unrest in the state ahead of the 2019 general elections.

The criminal suspects revealed that the lawmaker handed them a bag containing one AK-47 rifle, two pump action guns and the sum of N430,000 to recruit hardened troublemakers and unleash mayhem in Kogi.

The police first requested Melaye's presence in a letter addressed to Senate President, Bukola Saraki, dated March 2, 2018, urging him to report to the Police on March 7 to answer to the criminal offences levelled against him, but he refused the invitation, alleging that the police was colluding with the Kogi state government to cause him harm.

He was officially declared wanted by the police on March 28, the day he was due to be arraigned in court over the charges of criminal conspiracy and unlawful possession of prohibited firearms alongside Osama and Small who both escaped from their prison cell but were rearrested before April 1.

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