Police Overreacted, Treated Melaye Like Convict, Says Lawal Rabana
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Lawal Rabana, has slammed the police for the alleged ill-treatment they meted out to Melaye, accusing the security agency of treating the lawmaker like a criminal.
The lawyer told THISDAY yesterday that the way the police handled the senator was as if he had already been convicted by a court of law.
Melaye is currently being tried by two courts: a magistrateâ€™s court in Lokoja, Kogi State is trying him for conspiracy and aiding a jailbreak while he is facing charges of attempted suicide and escape from lawful custody in another magistrateâ€™s court in Abuja.
Rabana said: â€œNo matter the conduct of Melaye, he is presumed innocent before the law. But he has been treated like a convict already. Even if a person has through self-infliction, fallen sick or become temporarily incapacitated, why do you have to take him to court in that circumstance? Why donâ€™t you grant him access to good medical treatment? Why donâ€™t you grant him administrative bail? So, heâ€™s being treated as if heâ€™s already a convict. But as far as the law is concerned, heâ€™s presumed innocent until heâ€™s adjudged guilty.
â€œFor me, because of the conduct of Melaye, I think the police also have overreacted in the manner in which he has been dealt with. Two wrongs can never make a right. Melaye is still innocent until heâ€™s proven guilty.â€
The House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, has also raised an eyebrow over the manner the police had handled Melayeâ€™s case.
â€œAll I can say is that nothing must happen to the senator. I donâ€™t think the law supports a situation whereby someone is in a dire health situation and is being arraigned, most especially when that person is a senator,â€ Dogara said.
The senior advocate, however, pointed out that Melaye put himself in the situation that made it possible for the police to handle him like a criminal.
â€œLet me say that the whole scenario is self-inflicted by Senator (Dino) Melaye. He demonstrated total disregard for the rule of law. Number one, he was politely invited by the police to come and respond to some allegations levelled against him, he ignored that. He did not turn up; he did not respond until he was declared wanted. And, even when he was declared wanted, he made no attempt whatsoever to peacefully turn himself over to the police until he was forcefully arrested.
â€œSo to me, it is unbecoming of a senator, the highest lawmaking organ of this country to act as if there are no laws; there are no authorities, there are no institutions. Senators donâ€™t have immunity. He should have demonstrated respect for the rule of law by honouring that invitation,â€ Rabana added.