A Senior Magistrate’s Court sitting in Lokoja, has ordered that the senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Dino Melaye, be remanded along with two others in police custody till June 11.
Melaye, who was driven into the court premises at 9:30 a.m. was wheeled into the court room on a hospital stretcher to answer to a seven-count charge that bordered on illegal possession of firearms, criminal conspiracy and illegal transfer of firearms, among others.
When the charge sheet was read, the prosecution counsel, Alex Izinyon while citing relevant laws said the allegations leveled against the accused persons were too weighty and not ordinarily bailable.
He therefore prayed the court to remand Melaye in prison custody while the two accused persons who implicated Melaye, namely Kabiru Seidu , also called Osama and Nuhu Salisu, also referred to as Small, be remanded in the police custody
But Melaye’s counsel, Mike Ozekhome while objecting to the prayer of the prosecution, swiftly moved for Melaye’s bail citing section 97 (2) of the penal code and section 56 of the Kogi State administration of criminal justice law which say the offences are bailable.
He also presented two medical reports from the national hospital which showed that Melaye is bedridden, owing to a spinal chord injury he sustained and said he can not jump bail stressing that as a vocal senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria he could not have jumped bail.
Ozekhome also pleaded with the trial judge to consider the bail application saying his client has been with the police since April 24 and was released on bail on Wednesday by an Abuja magistrate court only to be re arrested by the police adding his client should be for prosecution and not persecution.
But the prosecution counsel swiftly objected to the bail application saying Melaye had earlier escaped from a lawful police custody and that for the counsel to say he was a vocal senator “means he is influential and can move and unmove anything.”
At the middle of the trial, Melaye suddenly sat up on the stretcher and looked around the court, and minutes later the doctor that led a medical team to the court rushed to him and supplied him an inhaler.
In his ruling, Senior Magistrate Sulyman Abdullah said the court had listened carefully to the submissions of both counsels and concluded that the case was not bailable.
He therefore ordered that all the three accused persons be remanded at the police custody while Melaye should be allowed access to his medication and adjourned the case till June 11 for mention.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara yesterday urged the Federal Government and the police to prioritise the health and safety of Melaye before prosecution.
This ruling followed a call made at the plenary after a personal explanation was raised by Sunday Karimi (Kogi-PDP) drawing the attention of the house to Dino’s plight.