Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
Three weeks after being held in Police custody, Senator Dino Melaye, representing Kogi West senatorial district in the National Assembly, has finally been granted bail by a High Court sitting in Lokoja.
The senator is standing trial over alleged illegal possession and dealing in firearms along with two suspected criminals.
The Chief Judge of Kogi State, Justice Nasiru Ajanah, granted the bail application filed on behalf of the senator by his counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome, last Wednesday in Lokoja.
Earlier, during the hearing on the bail application, the prosecuting counsel, Dr. Alex Izinyon, who vehemently opposed the application in a 23-paragraph counter affidavit on May 7 and deposed to by Sgt. Ibrahim Ademola, said the issue of bail was a discretionary remedy.
Izinyon alleged that Melaye did not have any medical problem, adding that the claim that he was asthmatic was not contained in the medical report as he only had malaria. He added that the claim was an afterthought.
But in Melayeâ€™s defence, Ozekhome said there was no counter document from the prosecution on the medical document obtained from the National Hospital. He also urged the court to declare that keeping him at the Police headquarters would seriously jeopardise his health condition and also render it impossible for him to satisfy the bail conditions earlier granted him by another court in Abuja.
In his ruling, Justice Ajanah declared that from the documentary evidence proffered in the case, there was no doubt that the third defendant was suffering from some kind of ailment.
According to him, â€œIn addition to the asthma which the third defendant is alleged to be suffering from, the last medical examination showed he has two heartbeat issues referred to as soft tissue trauma and stress related hypertension.
â€œI consider this health situation a special circumstance entitling the third defendant to the discretion of this court in admitting him to bail.
â€œIn the circumstance of this case and in the light of the documentary evidence and the state of health of the 3rd Defendant, I am convinced that he is not likely to evade trial.
â€œI believe that at this stage in which it is shown from the nature of the charges that the prosecution has concluded their investigation, attention should be paid more to the expeditious prosecution of the main case.
â€œI therefore grant bail to the third Defendant in the sum of N10 million and one surety in like sum.â€
The trial judge premised his decision on the health condition of the embattled senator.
The surety, according to him, must be a person of means and shall so depose to an affidavit of means with verifiable address.