Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
A senior magistrate’s court sitting in Lokoja, yesterday, ordered that Senator Dino Melaye, representing Kogi West senatorial district, should be remanded alongside two others, in police custody till June 11.
Melaye, who came to court on stretcher, was docked on a six-count charge bordering 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 against the accused persons were too weighty and not ordinarily bailable.
He, therefore, prayed the court to remand Melaye in prison while the two accused persons, who implicated Melaye, Kabiru Seidu, aka Osama, and Nuhu Salisu, aka Small, be remanded in police custody
But Melaye’s counsel, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, 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, Abuja, which signified that Melaye was bedridden owing to a spinal chord injury, and said he would not jump bail. He stressed that, as a vocal senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he would not jump bail.
The defendant’s counsel 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’s court only to be re-arrested by the police. He added that his client should be in court for prosecution and not persecution.
But Izinyon objected the bail application, saying Melaye had earlier escaped from lawful police custody and 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 woke up from the stretcher and looked around the courtroom and, some minutes later, the doctor that led a medical team to the court rushed to his side and gave him an inhaler.
The trial judge while giving his ruling said the court had listened carefully to the submissions of both counsel and concluded that the case was not bailable. He, therefore, ordered that all the three accused persons should be remanded in the police custody while Melaye should be allowed access to his medication.
He adjourned the case till June 11 for mention.