By Professor Mohammed Ibrahim
On Thursday, July 19, 2018, while Senator Dino Melaye, was returning to his hometown, around Iya junction, Ayetoro Gbede, Ijumu Local Government Area in Kogi State, in a convoy of over 20 vehicles, after the inauguration of his constituency projects, in Kogi West, Senatorial District, he was attacked allegedly by armed Policemen, and his vehicle and convoy shot at, sporadically by the armed policemen who attempted to assassinate him.
By a letter dated July 23, 2018, Senator Dino Melaye, through his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, petitioned the office of the Inspector General of Police, intimating it of the said attempt on his life. It is instructive to note that the office of the Inspector General of Police, failed and neglected to respond to the said letter, where Melaye, urged that the investigation of the case, be transferred to a neutral ground before unbiased police officers, to investigate the case.
Prior to this time, there have been several attempts on the life of Senator Dino Melaye, allegedly by the Police in Kogi State. Though Dino Melaye, has always miraculously escaped every of such attempts, on his life, palpable fear is beginning to creep into the mind and being of his teeming supporters. The Senator has made it public, that the Commissioner of Police, Kogi State, is playing the scripts of the incumbent Governor of Kogi State, who sees, Senator Dino Melaye, as a threat to the governor’s political ambitions, in Kogi State.
Most intriguing in all of these fusillades of attempts, on the life of Senator Melaye, is the fact that Nigerian Police, who ordinarily ought to protect the lives and properties of citizens, have apparently taken sides, with the governor of Kogi State, in his bold and devilish attempt, to silence every political opposition in the state.
One wonders, whether the recent comments attributed to the governor of Kogi State, that his party will win every elective position in Kogi State, is hinged on the extermination of all political opponents in the state.
Senator Melaye, who is currently being prosecuted in respect of frivolous charges filed by the Nigerian Police, enamoured by the governor of Kogi State, has written several petitions, to all the heads of security agencies in Nigeria, alerting them of plans, by the Kogi State, Governor, using the instrumentality of the police in Kogi State, to assassinate him. Senator Melaye, so far, has not attracted the sympathies of other sister security agencies, whose silent corporation, with the governor of Kogi State and the Nigerian police, leaves much to be desired.
The Senator has, therefore, alerted the United Nations, Amnesty International, United States Embassy, and a host of other international bodies, of the complacency, of the government of the day, in the face of the dastardly plot, to eliminate his person, in Kogi State. The conspiracy by Kogi State governor, to allegedly eliminate Dino Melaye, has almost always failed upon every attempt. Memories of the failed bid by the same Kogi State governor, to recall Senator Dino Melaye, as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, wherein billions of monies meant for the payment of salaries of Kogi State Civil Servants, were spent, is still and will forever, linger in the minds of Nigerians..
The irony of it all is that even though Dino Melaye, was immobilised in his hospital bed, where the fierce-looking security operatives chained him, to his hospital bed. Where the Nigerian, Police, barricaded the intensive care unit of the National Hospital, stopping family members and well-wishers from assessing Senator Dino Melaye, Senator Melaye, once again, prevailed. The said Kogi State Governo, could not even secure the votes of his family members and kitchen cabinet, in the government house, where he was shamefully and ruthlessly defeated, just like in every other unit where the sham recall process took place.
The 2019 elections are drawing near. Political activities are beginning to gather momentum. The fear gripped governor of Kogi State, has refused to let Dino be. Just recently, on October 12, 2018, the Commissioner of Police Kogi State, sent out armed Policemen, to Dino’s hometown, to complete their assignment, wherein they have woefully failed upon each attempt. Senator Dino Melaye is a serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. His office and abode are very well known to the Nigerian Police. Why then, would the same police, go by 1 am, in the early hours of the 12th day of October 2018, to arrest a sitting and serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, like a common criminal, if there were no sinister motives? Why were the same police unable to arrest him, all through the daytime when he held several political meetings in Kogi West Senatorial District, in the daytime, the previous day?
The Commissioner of Police, Kogi State, who have actively connived with the Kogi State governor in their avowed determination to shut Dino up, shamelessly, came out to justify their actions, by saying that Dino is wanted, by Kogi State, Police Command. It is clear, that the only way the Kogi State, governor, Yahaya bello, could purportedly achieve, 100 % victories in the upcoming elections in 2019, is by ensuring that Dino Melaye is denied access, into Kogi State, through spurious, frame up allegations.
The same allegations for which they are now seeking to arrest a sitting Senator, without a warrant, by 1 am, is also the basis for which the Senator had written a petition to the Inspector General of Police, urging it to transfer the matter to a neutral ground where unbiased police investigators would conduct a thorough investigation in the matter. The Police have refused and neglected to act on the said petition even after three months since it was submitted to them.
One is now beginning to wonder why, despite several petitions alerting the Inspector General of police of the planned assassination of Senator Dino Melaye, the Police have refused to take any steps at all, towards protecting his life even as a serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Nigeria Police, rather than taking steps to secure his life, has since April 2018, despite the looming threats to his life, withdrawn the police security details attached to Senator Dino Melaye, thereby exposing him to the imminent attack of his assailants.
Despite letters written by the clerk of the National Assembly, the office of the Senate President, and Dino Melaye’s lawyers, for the restoration of his security details, the police have failed and neglected to restore his security details and are doing everything in connivance with Kogi State governor, to bring Melaye down.
Dino Melaye is the only Senator standing trial in over five criminal matters in respect of trumped up charges against him, by the police in connivance with the governor of Kogi State. The Inspector General of Police filed a charge against Dino Melaye in a Magistrate Court, in Wuse Zone, 2, Abuja. While the trial was about to commence, they withdrew the said Charge and filed a fresh charge in the High court of FCT, where new bail conditions were given to Dino Melaye, whose International Passports have been in the custody of Nigerian Police, as part of the bail term, granted by the Magistrate Court.
Despite a subsisting order of the court, directing the Nigerian Police to release Senator Dino Melaye’s International Passports, and also repeated demand from Dino Melaye, through his lawyers, the Nigerian police have refused and neglected to release Dino Melaye’s International passport, in flagrant disobedience to a subsisting order of the court. The Nigerian Police, which ought to ensure the maintenance of law and order, are themselves, architect of lawlessness and reckless disobedience to orders of the court.
It is clear, that the Kogi State Government, led by Yahaya Bello, having failed severally to assassinate Senator Dino Melaye, failed woefully in their bid to recall him as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is now losing sleep over the growing popularity and celebrity status of Senator Dino Melaye. Yahaya Bello, is relentless in his fight, to stop Dino Melaye, from participating in political activities, in the build-up to 2019, elections, using the Commissioner of Police, Kogi, State.
The time has come, for the Nigerian Police, to stand firm in its resolve to uphold the rule of law. The Nigerian Police should refuse to be swayed by financial inducement, to thwart the popular will of the people. The Nigerian police should refuse to yield to the ungodly temptation of relegating itself, as a willing agent of the ruling party, used to intimidate, humiliate and harass political opponents or perceived enemies. The time is ripe, for the Nigerian police to bolster its dwindling image, before the Nigerian populace, before 2019, elections. After all, there is popular parlance in Nigeria, that nothing last, forever. A stitch in time saves nine.
Professor Mohammed Ibrahim wrote from Birbeck University of London.