By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
The embattled Senator representing Kogi West senatorial district in the National Assembly, Senator Dino Melaye, was yesterday arraigned before a Magistrate Court, sitting in Wise 2, Abuja, by the Nigeria Police, but was rearrested after getting bail.
Magistrate Mabel Segun-Bello, had granted him bail to the tune of N90million with two sureties in likes sum.
Melaye, who was brought to court in a stretcher, amid tight security, was arraigned based on a police First Information Report (FIR). The FIR stated on the 24th of April 2018, about 1330hrs at Area One round-about Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the court that, “You, Senator Dino Melaye of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, while being conveyed in a Police White Hilux Bus with Registration Number NPF 3354 D to Lokoja, Kogi State, to be arraigned in Court for Conspiracy and Unlawful Possession of Prohibited Firearms in Charge Number CMCL/14SC/2018 filed at the Chief Magistrate Court Lokoja, you Senator Dino Melaye intentionally broke the side windscreen of the Bux and jumped out of the bus after it was blocked by a Hilux Vehicle with registration number Kaduna MKA 603 GY occupied by your younger brother Samuel Melaye and one Barrister Amefula David Emeka and driven by yet to be unidentified person who escaped from the scene after the blockade.
“You Senator Dino Melaye after breaking the side windscreen attempted to kill yourself by jumping out of the bus and fell on the ground and, thereafter, started shouting that you want to kill yourself and implicate the Police for your death.
Also, “That Police Officers who were escorting you in the bus tried to re-arrest you back to the bus, but you resisted further arrest with the help of your brother Samuel Melaye and some lawyers in your company, and further threatened to injure the Police officers if they try to further arrest you; and you finally escaped from the scene in another Hilux vehicle.”
According to the Police, the offence contravenes Sections 148, 153, 172, 173, 231 and 326 of the Penal Code Act and punishable under the Nigeria 1999 Constitution as amended.
Senator Melaye pleaded not guilty to the charges when read to him.
Sequel to the not guilty plea, counsel to Melaye, Nkem Okoro, prayed the court to hear his bail application, adding that the crime for which the Senator is being accused of is not a capital offence, and “under the law, the defendant is entitled to bail.”
Okoro premised his plea on Section 162 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act, which sets out conditions to be considered before a bail application is granted or refused.
Opposing the bail application, the prosecution counsel, Alex Izinyon SAN, asked the court not to grant him bail; he, however, demanded for dates for trial.
After listening to the arguments of the counsel of both parties, Magistrate Segun-Bello said that under ACJA, “It is imperative to state that bail has been liberalized.
She said, “Taking a look at provision of Section 162 of ACJA, the prosecution counsel has not proven any reasonable apprehension that would warrant the court from denying the defendant bail.
“The prosecution counsel has placed nothing before the court to show why the defendant should not be granted bail.
“There is no evidence, tendered before this court, to substantiate the prosecution counsel’s claim that the defendant will jump bail,” the Magistrate noted.
The court further held that the police counsel could not convince it on how the defendant is likely to influence prosecution witnesses in the cause of his trial if released on bail.
Consequently, she granted the defendant, bail to the tune of N90million with two sureties in like sum.
This was on the condition that one of the sureties must be a civil servant not lower than Great Level 14, and one must have easily identifiable residence in Abuja.
The defendant must also deposit his international passport with the Federal Capital Territory Police Command.
In addition, the magistrate ordered that Dino must report to the Wuse police command every working day of the week, until same is altered by the court.
The matter has been adjourned to June 6.
However, while Melaye and his lawyers were ready to leave after meeting the bail conditions, the police rearrested the embattled senator in the premises of the court.
Melaye’s lawyer, Mr. Nkem Okoro, told journalists that his client met the bail conditions granted by the court but the senator was re-arrested by the police on the court premises.
“He met his bail conditions but the police decided to re-arrest him on the excuse that they were taking him to Lokoja tomorrow morning,” Okoro said.
Melaye laid on a stretcher when he was produced in court in a police ambulance with registration number NPF2214D on Wednesday.
Over 200 policemen were deployed to the court on Wednesday.
They left the court premises in a convoy which comprised the ambulance conveying Melaye at about 4.20pm.