By Dapo Akinrefon
HUMAN rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, yesterday, called on the lawmaker representing Kogi West Senatorial district, Senator Dino Melaye to end the siege by submitting himself for arrest without any further delay.
He, however, cautioned the Police to conduct Melaye’s arrest, investigation and prosecution in strict compliance with the relevant provisions of the penal statutes and the Constitution.
In a statement Falana flayed the Police for the sensationalization of the planned arrest of the Senator.
His words: “The fundamental right of every citizen to personal liberty is guaranteed by section 35 of the Constitution of Nigeria and article 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights. The right may however be violated by the State if there is reasonable suspicion that any citizen has committed a criminal offence. The Nigeria Police Force recently announced its plan to arrest Senator Dino on the allegation that he has committed the offences of criminal conspiracy and attempted culpable homicide. The Senator did not respond to the invitation of the Police on the grounds that the permission of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki was not sought and obtained.
“Convinced that the Senator has decided not to submit himself for investigation, a team of police personnel have surrounded his residence with a view to effecting his arrest. The siege to the house by the Police has needlessly lasted for 6 days. It has been reported that the supply of electricity and water to the house has been disconnected by the Police. Such action cannot be justified in law. There is no doubt that the Nigeria Police Force has itself to blame for the sensational planned arrest of the Senator.
”The Police ought to have affected the arrest of the Senator under the relevant provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 which empower the Police and other law enforcement to break into any house to arrest if there is evidence that any criminal suspect against whom a warrant of arrest has been issued by any court has absconded or is concealing himself or herself so that the warrant cannot be executed.”