Police allege Senator's aides shot officer, deny his 'assassination' claims

The Senator appears to be in hot water with the police again as his security aides have been accused of shooting a police sergeant.

The lawmaker had taken to his Twitter account late on Thursday to raise alarm over an assassination attempt on his life which he alleged was carried out by the police and military.

He tweeted, "I thank God for spearing (sic) my life once again. Over 20 bullets holes on my jeep. Combination of police,SARS and military. God I thank you."

In a statement signed by the spokesperson of the Kogi Command, DSP William Aya, he said the senator deliberately twisted the facts of the matter as it was his security aides who shot and injured a police sergeant first.

He said Melaye's convoy had been flagged down by officers of the Anti-Robbery/Kidnapping Patrol Team on a stop-and-search operation when they were fired upon after some of the vehicles in the convoy refused to stop.

DSP Aya said the officers only fired back in self-defence at the vehicles, which escaped from the scene, before they found out that it was the lawmaker's convoy.

He then called on Melaye to report with the people in his convoy to the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department, Lokoja, to assist in the investigation.

The statement read, "Today, at about 1530hours, a team of policemen from the Command was on a routine Anti-Robbery/Kidnapping patrol along Aiyetoro Gbede-Mopa Road.

"During the patrol, and as it is often the practice, the team pinned down at a point at Iyah Gbede Junction, where they were observing the highway and occasionally conducting Stop and Search.

"It was in this process a long convoy of vehicles coming from Mopa towards Aiyetoro Gbede approached the Point. Officers of the Command at the Point flagged down the convoy. While the lead vehicle, a Toyota Hilux van, which was later discovered to be conveying officers of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, stopped to introduce themselves, other vehicles in the convoy dangerously zoomed off without regards to the safety of the officers on ground.

"Surprisingly, some plain clothed armed men, occupying a white Toyota Hilux van, without registration number, without provocation fired gunshots at the officers of the Anti-Robbery/Kidnapping Patrol Team.

"One of the officers, a Sergeant, was hit by bullet on the right part of his chest as a result of which he sustained grievous injury.

"The Officer is currently lying critically ill in the hospital where he has undergone a live threatening surgery and currently recuperating.

"Expectedly, the policemen in self defence responded by firing back to repel the unexpected attack. Vehicles in the convoy nevertheless, drove away from the scene. It was not until the officers of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps were questioned that it was realised that the convoy was that of Senator Dino Melaye.

"It is rather unfortunate that the Senator could, after this dastardly act by his aides, be going around with armed men, unknown to the Command who could launch such a lethal attack on police officers in the course of their normal duty.

"It is more saddening that the Senator could turn around to issue misleading statements to cover up the heinous crime committed by his hired aides.

"While, the command has instituted a high powered investigation panel into the incident, Senator Melaye is hereby advised to report with people in his convoy to the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department, Lokoja to assist in the investigation."

Melaye was on his planned 4-day 'Thank You' tour of Kogi West senatorial district when the incident happened. He has been touring the district to inaugurate some of the 143 projects he had executed in the past three years.

On Wednesday, July 18, suspected political thugs destroyed two of the lawmaker's constituency projects in Lokoja metropolis only a few hours to their inauguration.

One of the projects was a block of four furnished classrooms at Government Girls Secondary School, Sarkin-Noma, which was torched in the early hours of Wednesday. The other project was UBE Junior Secondary School, Lokongoma, where iron windows, ceilings, white boards and electrical fittings, including ceiling fans in the block of four classrooms, were destroyed.

Later on Thursday, Melaye took to his Instagram account to post pictures of the letters he had written to security agencies to ask for protection for the tour. In the letter he wrote to the DSS, his lawyer, Ricky Tarfa (SAN), noted that there was a threat to his life and the ceremony itself. According to Melaye, both the Police, who acknowledged one of his letters, and the Department of State Services (DSS) failed to provide any cover for his tour.

This is not the first time the Senator is getting in trouble with the police over an alleged assassination attempt on his life.

Earlier this year, the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation filed a lawsuit against him for allegedly providing false information to the police about an assassination attempt on his life.

In the suit (CR/106/18) filed before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Maitama on January 31, 2018, Melaye is accused of falsely incriminating Kogi's Governor Yahaya Bello's Chief of Staff, Edward Onoja David, as well as making false statement in regards to the attempted assassination.

In the first count, he is accused of falsely incriminating Edward David in his assassination attempt claim. Melaye is accused of deliberately giving false information to the police to frame David as the mastermind of the assassination attempt on his life at his hometown in Ayetoro-Gbede in Kogi state on April 17, 2017.

According to the charge, the police discovered the alleged falsehood in Melaye's claim while investigating his allegation.

In the second count, Melaye is accused of making  with Mohammed Abubakar, son of the late ex-governor of Kogi state, Abubakar Audu, with the intention of harming the reputation of David.

The lawmaker has two other criminal cases in court as he's been charged with criminal conspiracy, unlawful possession of prohibited firearms, kidnapping, armed robbery, murder, political thuggery and other violent crimes in Kogi state before the Senior Magistrate Court 2 in Lokoja; as well as charges of criminal conspiracy, causing damage to government property, attempted suicide and escape from lawful custody before an Abuja Magistrate Court.

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