How he escaped while being taken to Lokoja–Police
Police spokesman storms hospital with 30 operatives, re-arrests Melaye, 2 staff
By Henry Umoru, Boluwaji Obahopo, Nwafor Sunday & Joseph Erunke
THE thug-of-war between the Police and the Senator Dino Melaye, turned dramatic, yesterday, as the lawmaker escaped from the police while being taken to Lokoja and landed in the hospital with injuries.
The Police and the senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District had been in a hide-and-seek over attempts to arrest the lawmaker in connection with alleged criminal offences of conspiracy and unlawful possession of prohibited firearms leveled against him.
The Police claimed that the senator had refused to honour summons hence the move to arrest him. On Monday, the police attempted to arrest Senator Melaye after immigration officials disembarked him from a flight and detained him for three hours at the immigration office at the airport.
Thereafter, the lawmaker’s house at Maitama, Abuja was besieged by over 80 armed police men from noon on Monday until the early hours of yesterday, when he reportedly handed himself over to the police team at his residence and was taken away.
Vanguard gathered that events turned dramatic when the chairman of the Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, sensed that he was being taken to Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, instead of a court in Abuja.
Police move Dino Melaye in ambulance to National Hospital
The senator was billed to be paraded yesterday evening in Lokoja along side some suspected criminals arrested in Kogi State over some heinous acts.
He was said to have jumped out of the vehicle of the police Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS conveying him to the Kogi State Command of the Nigeria Police Force. He sustained injuries in the process and was taken to Zanklin Hospital in Abuja for medication.
In a telephone conversation earlier in the morning, Senator Melaye had sounded rattled, as background conversation suggested a struggle between him and some of the operatives after which his mobile lines were switched off.
It was gathered yesterday that Senator Melaye who was initially arrested and detained at the SARS facility along the Area 1 expressway, Abuja, was told that he was being taken to court at about1:15pm.
The source said that Senator Melaye, however, agreed to go to court with the armed operatives, but a twist ensued on the way around Area 1 roundabout, when they attempted to take him to Kogi State.
Police overwhelmed by passersby
Speaking to journalists, one of the passersby, Peter Babayemi, said their attention was drawn to the lawmaker’s plea for help, and immediately the SARS was surrounded by a large number of passersby. He said the operatives became overwhelmed by the number of passersby and abandoned Senator Melaye and drove off to avoid being lynched.
Babayemi said: “What happened was that we were at the Area 1 roundabout when we saw the SARS vehicle carrying someone. We saw the person struggling and shouting at the top of his voice. So many people now gathered to see what was happening. When we looked closely, we saw it was Dino Melaye.
“Immediately, we started shouting that we know this man who is fighting for Nigerians and that we will not allow him to be taken away. Since some of us had read the news about what was happening to him, we said we won’t allow them take him anywhere. That was how we rescued him from them and they drove away when the place became crowded.”
How Melaye escaped from policemen while being taken to Lokoja—Police
However,Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP, told newsmen at the premises of Zanklin Hospital, where the senator is receiving treatment, following the development, that Dino escaped around Area 1 of the Federal Capital Territory.
According to him, men believed to be working for him got wind of the police movement and waylaid the police vehicle carrying him around the Area 1 with their vehicle after which the senator jumped down and bolted away in the process.
According to Moshood, a middle aged woman was wounded in the process by the vehicle used by the senator’s men.
Moshood, who said the police have started investigating the circumstance leading to the escape of the senator, added that Melaye would also be charged for escape from lawful custody.
Police re-arrest Melaye, hospital staff
However, the Police have re-arrested the Dino Melaye at Zankli Hospital where he is currently receiving treatment.
Dino had sustained injury during his escape and was rushed to the hospital.
Vanguard gathered that Police spokesman, Mr Jimoh Moshood on hearing where Dino was, stormed the hospital along with 30 officers. Currently, Dino has been re-arrested by the Nigerian police but have not been taken away from the hospital. He is currently receiving treatment.
The police also arrested two persons (a man and a woman) said to be hospital staff for unknown offence.
Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, SP Aremu Adeniran who first spoke about the situation said Dino had submitted himself to the police and will be arraigned at subsequent time.
However, sources within the police said he was simultaneously arraigned at the Magistrate Court in Lokoja which had granted Order to the police to remand him in their custody.
Addressing journalist yesterday, the Deputy Force PPRO, Aremu Adeniran said: “Dino surrendered himself to the Police yesterday after series of dodging following the indictment on him by two suspects, Kabiru Saidu a.k.a. Osama and Nuhu Ahmed who named him as their sponsors and suppliers of guns for armed robbery, kidnapping and political thuggery.”
He said the Senator had ignored series of invitations to answer to criminal offences of Conspiracy and unlawful possession of prohibited firearms leveled against him.
“Sequel to his refusal to honour police invitations, he was therefore Watch-listed through the Nigeria Police INTERPOL Office and in compliance to the INTERPOL’s Watch List. The officers of the Nigeria Immigration Service intercepted and collected his International Passport from him at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja. While this was on, he snatched the passport from the officers at the Airport and bolted away to his house.
“In furtherance to this, the Police obtained a warrant of arrest and trailed him to his house at Maitama, Abuja and cordoned off the place. Police exercise restraints from undue provocation from some Internally Displaced Persons mobilized by the Senator numbering over 200, mostly youths, pregnant women and children. They barricaded the road leading to his house with wood and heavy stones and restricted access. He however surrendered himself to the police this morning (yesterday) 24, April, 2018 for investigation on the allegations against him.”
However, Vanguard’s visit to the Magistrate court revealed that the court was only notified of Dino’s arraignment which was slated for today.
Reportedly, the hospital ambulance brought Dino to the hospital at about 4:25pm, after which he was admitted into the emergency unit. And there were no security operatives when he arrived.