•Lawmaker re-arrested in hospital
Fred Itua, Abuja; Molly Kilete
Embattled All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart, Senator Dino Melaye, who represents Kogi West in the upper legislative chamber of the National Assembly, yesterday, escaped from the custody of the Nigeria Police Force, en route Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.
The lawmaker was arrested yesterday morning by a combined team of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and the Department of State Services (DSS).
He was first taken to SARS headquarters in Abuja, before an attempt was made to transfer him to Kogi State, where he was expected to face trial over alleged possession of firearms and arming of militia groups.
Daily Sun gathered that the lawmaker was told that he was being taken to court at about 1:15pm.
Melaye, it was learnt, agreed to go to court with the armed operatives, but a new twist ensued on the way around the Area 1 roundabout, when they headed for Airport Road, Abuja, en route Lokoja.
It was learnt that the lawmaker raised the alarm, loud enough to attract passersby.
One of the passersby, Peter Babayemi, who spoke to journalists, revealed that their attention was drawn to the lawmaker’s plea for help and, immediately, the SARS vehicle was surrounded by a sea of passersby.
At this point, Melaye reportedly jumped out of the police vehicle, and when the officers made an attempt to pursue him they were overwhelmed by the crowd that had gathered. They thereafter drove off and abandoned Melaye, who had sustained some injuries.
Inquiries by Daily Sun from Melaye’s aides about the whereabouts of the senator, led to Zankli Hospital, in Mabushi, Abuja, where he is presently receiving medical attention.
Journalists who beseiged the hospital sighted the lawmaker being wheeled from an ambulance on a stretcher into the emergency unit of the hospital.
His aides told newsmen that he suffered a panic attack during the struggle with the police and might have been injured in the process.
Barely an hour after being admitted into the hospital, several truckloads of mobile policemen barricaded the entrance to streets where the medical facility is situated.
There were reports that the police were taking him to Lokoja to parade him alongside other suspects who have allegedly confessed to being supported by Melaye.
However, the Kogi police commissioner, Ali Janga, said there were no plans to arraign Melaye.
On his part, the force public relations officer, Jimoh Moshood, said, “at about 1200Hrs of (yesterday) Sen. Dino Melaye, while in lawful custody of the Nigeria Police Force and being taken for arraignment in Federal High Court, Lokoja, from Abuja, escaped from lawful custody when hoodlums and miscreants in two Toyota Hilux vehicles blocked the police vehicle conveying him around Area 1 roundabout, Abuja, and, in the process, the senator jumped out of the police vehicle through the window and was seized from the policemen by hoodlums to an unknown destination.
“The police team re-enforced and trailed him to Zankli Hospital, Abuja, where he was re-arrested. The senator would be arraigned in court without further delay.”
Meanwhile, one of the vehicles said to have been used by the hoodlums and miscreants in aiding the escape of the senator has been recovered by the police.
The Inspector-General of Police has directed a thorough investigation into the circumstances leading to the rescue and escape of Melaye from lawful custody.