Senator Dino Melaye has gone from one horrible day to another since April 23. We pray he gets a fair trial.
All inside 10 days.
No one saw that coming.
Melaye’s home has been surrounded by police officers, he has been arrested at his home, he has jumped from a moving police truck into the waiting arms of hoodlums, he has sat on the hard floor to scream his lungs out at everyone in the biting sun, he has been re-arrested from a hospital bed and he has been wheeled to Lokoja (the last place he wants to be at the moment) in an ambulance for trial.
Trust me, you don't want to be Dino Melaye right now.
On Wednesday, May 2, 2018, the police slapped Melaye with a couple of charges including attempted suicide.
According to the police, Melaye will have his day in court for “attempted suicide, escape from lawful custody, criminal conspiracy, unlawful possession of prohibited firearms and causing damage to government property”.
You have to agree that that’s too many charges for one man. Some of the charges also sound contrived. What the heck is “attempted suicide and causing damage to government property”?
As you read this, Melaye has been denied bail at the Magistrate Court in Kogi which means he’ll be spending 38 days in police custody because the Magistrate Court didn’t have the jurisdiction to entertain some of the charges ab initio.
Why then was he taken to the Magistrate Court in the first place?
In between jumping from a police truck and making the rounds in an ambulance, Melaye faced a recall from parliament which predictably crumbled like a pack of cards.
A chunk of Melaye’s colleagues in the senate think he’s being victimized and have said so at several fora.
Hours before Melaye was wheeled to Lokoja in an ambulance, Senator Ben Murray Bruce said: “Dino Melaye was granted bail. However, while leaving the court, he was picked up again by police. They claimed they were taking him to hospital, rather, they took him to Force Headquarters. Their intention is to move him to Kogi State anytime from now. Is this a democracy?”
Murray Bruce had also claimed Melaye was tear-gassed on the day he flew out of the police van.
Senators Shehu Sani and Bukola Saraki told the world in the first days of Melaye’s recent troubles that the senator hadn’t been given food and looked in very bad shape.
“He was barely able to speak and his neck was bandaged. I’m not a medical doctor or a nurse to conclude whether that means ‘stable or not’. That is the truth”, Sani had said.
“We know he hasn’t eaten for the last 24 hours, we are trying to resolve that. He’s on fluids and he’s being seen by cardiologists, all specialists. As you know, he has other (health) issues, he’s asthmatic”, Saraki said.
At play here is the spoils of politics in Kogi State and the battle for supremacy between Kogi Governor Yahaya Bello and Melaye. Both men now hate themselves with a passion. The governor doesn’t want Melaye back in the senate in 2019 and appears to be deploying every trick in the book to achieve that objective.
Bello's end game appears to be frustrating, decimating, pulverizing and destroying Melaye politically.
It’s a bitter battle out there.
However, for everyone’s and Melaye’s sake, we just hope he is given a fair trial and is treated decently by law enforcement. No one should be victimized for going against a State governor. It’s a dangerous road to travel and a bad precedence for the rest of the nation.