The Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has described the invasion of the Abuja home of Senator Dino Melaye, representing Kogi West Senatorial District, as another instance of police being used to suppress the rights of the citizenry and silencing people with opposing views to the current administration.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki said a situation where the police invaded the home of a Nigerian lawmaker, tampered with the supply of electricity and water to the house, beat up and cuffed his domestic staff and disturbed the peace of his neighbours by claiming he allegedly committed an offence in July was unacceptable.
He said the timing of the invasion and the desperate attempt to arrest the Senator is suspicious as the man had raised an alarm a few days before his house was invaded that there was an attempt by the police to get hold of him and inflict injury on his person, an allegation that was denied by the police.
He explained that the general belief now “is that the police action against Melaye was aimed at keeping him out of circulation so that he would not participate in the general election coming in February.”
According to him, the manner of invasion on his house is highly suspicious. This same man has been charged with sundry and needless allegations and he has attended the various court sessions. He is also a candidate in the coming elections and therefore have no reason to run away from the country.
Saraki said Melaye was “present in the Senate for plenary, committee meetings and oversight functions till the Senate went on recess on December 20, 2018. Though the police in their statement claim that there was a request to the Clerk of the National Assembly (CNA) inviting Senator Melaye to report to the police, my enquiry from the CNA showed that he had no such letter.
“If there was an offence allegedly committed in July and the police waited till now, we do not see the urgency in the need to arrest him about six weeks to the election in which he is a candidate. He could have been invited to report to the police on Monday. This desperation to haul him in is beyond normal.
“This same IGP, who refused to honour the invitation of the Senate for him to give information on the security situation in the country and rushed to the court to seek protection of his rights, is now violating the rights of other people. In the same manner, a Senate resolution to the effect that his security personnel that were withdrawn should be reinstated has not been obeyed.
“It has not gone without notice that Senator Melaye is a member of the opposition. We cannot remember any member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) being treated in this manner. Even the one who allegedly led thugs to forcefully seize the mace while Senate was in session, in the full glare of television camera, is still roaming the streets free without prosecution.”
He rejected the method of digging out some old charges and allegations to arrest and incarcerate political opponents, noting that the method “has presented this current Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Kpotum Idris, as the most partisan head of the Nigerian Police ever in the history of this country.
“We have continued to call on the security agencies to steer clear of partisanship and be professional in their activities. This country is not a banana country. Nobody is saying the police should not do their work in the prevention of crime and enforcement of laws.
“However, a pattern of creating trumped up charges, implicating those who have contrary views to the administration and employing crude tactics under the pretext of enforcing laws is unacceptable to us. It is not because Senator Melaye is the victim this time around. This should not happen to any Nigerian.
“We are disturbed that the administration remains non-challant about this negative development by claiming that these excesses and anti-democratic activities of the police are proper and normal and that they do not want to interfere with the work of the law enforcement agents, but we all know these oppressive tactics of the police have something to do with the coming Polls.
“The police cannot act outside the law of the land. They should not be infringing on the rights of people. They should not be oppressing the people and they should not be adopting extra-legal measures under the guise of enforcing law.
“They should vacate Senator Melaye’s house immediately, release the innocent domestic staff in his house who cannot be said to have committed any offence, stop the interference with utility services in his house and ensure that all their actions are within the ambit of the law”, Saraki stated.