A PRESS RELEASE BY MIKE OZEKHOME’S CHAMBERS
Our attention has just been drawn to a trending television video in, which the AIG (Legal) of the Nigeria Police, Mr David Igbodo, trivialized his ignoble dehumanization of Senator Melaye, using his privileged official position. He referred to Dino’s ordeal as “Nigeria Movie Part 2”
Distinguished Senator Dino Melaye, has, for quite some time, been receiving fusillades of politically motivated attacks, on his life, political career and health. His offence, that has attracted these attacks upon his person, is that he is exposing and speaking out against the anti-people policies of both the federal government under President Buhari, and the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, who governs his state.
On Friday, the 28th of December, 2018, a team of plain-clothed Policemen, had stormed Senator Dino Melaye’s house at No 11 Sangha Street, Maitama, Abuja, and barricaded the entire street before eventually forcefully gaining entry into his compound. The said plain-clothed Policemen proceeded to beat up Melaye’s security whom they immediately handcuffed. They also arrested the cook and other domestic staff in Senator Dino’s residence. They chased away all family members from Dino’s house.
The Nigeria Police, led by the Commissioner of Police, FCT, proceeded to disconnect electricity and gas supply to the premises of Senator Dino Melaye, thereby putting his life and health in grave danger. They also disconnected water supply to his home thus denying him access to water. Senator Dino Melaye’s dependants were without water and food, for over seven days, as the said Policemen blocked his gate, denying family members and his friends, access to his house. Senator Dino Melaye is a known asthmatic person.
The Nigeria Police through, AIG David Igbodo, granted a press conference wherein he falsely and defamatorily described their intimidation and humiliation of Senator Dino Melaye, as “Nigerian movie part 2”. This statement by the Nigeria Police is aimed at creating bias in the mind of the Nigerian public and indeed the judiciary, which will eventually be saddled with the responsibility of determining the trumped-up charges against distinguished Senator Dino Melaye. It is given this, that we, as Melaye’s lawyers, have deemed it expedient to put the records straight before the Nigerian public, lest Mr Igbodo’s ungodly tissue of lies are donned with the garb of truth.
It would be recalled that Senator Dino Melaye, had on the 24th of December, 2018, cried out to the world, that he had received credible information that there was a grand plan by the Police, sponsored by Yahaya Bello, the Governor of Kogi State, to arrest him and inject him with lethal substances to terminate his life. It would also be recalled that Senator Dino Melaye, who has since parted ways with his earlier party, the ruling APC, has been quite vociferous in the condemnation of the poor performance of the federal government and his state government under Yahaya Bello. Consequent upon this, he has received politically motivated attacks on his life and political career by his political enemies, using the instrumentality of a willing Nigeria Police Force and their operatives.
Members of the public would also recall how Senator Dino Melaye had personally narrated his ordeal on Thursday, the 19th day of July, 2018, to the effect that whilst he was returning to his hometown, around Iya junction, Ayetoro Gbede, Ijumu LGA, Kogi State, in a convoy of over twenty vehicles, after the commissioning of his constituency projects, in Kogi West Senatorial District, he was attacked by armed Policemen and his vehicle shot at sporadically, by the armed Policemen who attacked him. A petition was immediately written to the IGP, intimating him of the premeditated violent attack on Melaye. Till date, we have not received any response to the said petition, and the Nigeria Police is now incredulously on the verge of preparing a charge against Senator Dino Melaye in respect of an alleged attack on his life, by Police officers, claiming that Melaye’s security (not Melaye himself), shot and wounded a Police officer.
Senator Melaye had also informed the general public, that recently, on the 12th of October 2018, the Commissioner of Police, Kogi State, sent armed Policemen who invaded his country home in Kogi State, looking for him. He believes the invasion was targeted at assassinating him, over his opposing political views. It was only when the villagers raised the alarm that the said armed Policemen, fled. Senator Dino Melaye then petitioned the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and copied the said petition to several International Organizations. And again, no response was received in respect of this petition till date. We strongly believe that there is an underlying motive for the timing of the recent attacks on Senator Dino Melaye.
Senator Dino Melaye who is also contesting for the Senatorial slot of the Kogi West, Senatorial District, was scheduled to be one of the keynote speakers on 5th of January, 2019, in Lokoja Kogi State, the day his party, the PDP, flagged off in its national campaign in Kogi State. Senator Dino Melaye verily believes that the federal government is doing everything possible, including the use of our publicly financed Nigeria Police apparatchik, to harass, intimidate, silence and possibly kill him, thereby ultimately frustrating his senatorial ambition.
It is pertinent to note that the incident that led to the alleged case of attempted homicide against Senator Dino Melaye took place, far back, on the 19th of July, 2018. Senator Dino Melaye has since then always been at the National Assembly, discharging his legislative duties. The Nigeria Police also know his home in Abuja. They have always seen him at the National Assembly. They never sent invitation letters personally to him. If they sent any through the Clerk of the National Assembly, no such invitation was received by Senator Dino Melaye.
For the Nigeria Police to come out during this period of political campaign, to arrest Senator Dino Melaye, is a clear indication that there is a plot using the Nigeria Police, to frustrate Senator Dino Melaye, politically. The alleged offence which Dino Melaye purportedly committed was allegedly in Kogi State. The said alleged offence has nothing to do with his physical residence in Maitama Abuja. Why would the Nigeria Police lay siege on, and barricade the street and stop family members and political associates of Dino Melaye from accessing his house, since the house was never a crime scene?
It would be recalled that Melaye had complianed to the world that the Kogi State, Governor in his desperate attempts to undo Dino Melaye politically, had stage-managed his botched recall from the Senate, which process failed ignominiously even while he was chained to a hospital bed like an animal by the same Nigeria Police. The process of the alleged recall was also commenced in a similar disgraceful manner, which the Igbodo of Nigeria police is now branding Nigerian Movie Part 2. The Nigeria Police had arrested him, imobilized him, and during that period, the recall process was hurridely carried out. Yet, it failed woefully. It is thus the Nigeria Police, not Dino, that is acting the script of the federal government and Dino’s state governor, in their desperate attempt to silence Dino Melaye and frustrate his political ambition.
The Nigeria Police had since April, 2018, withdrawn Senator Dino Melaye’s Police security attached to him. The Nigeria Police has since refused all requests, to restore Dino Melaye’s security, despite several letters written to them, including letters from the Senate President and the Clerk of the National Assembly. The Police has never been able to proffer any reason whatsoever for withdrawing the security attached to a serving Senator, till date.
The same Nigeria Police has since refused to release Senator Dino Melaye’s International Passports which is in their custody, notwithstanding a clear order of court directing them to release same forthwith, since 25th of July 2018. Till date, Dino’s passports are still illegally and wrongfully detained by the same Police, notwithstanding the subsisting court order, and several letters from our chambers urging them to release same.
Senator Dino Melaye’s health has worsened because of Police brutality. These facts are known to the Police and Igbodo, the Head of their Legal Department. Many of them have been judicially pronounced upon by the courts, in some of the several trumped up charges filed against Melaye, by the Police. It is highly condemnable that the Nigeria Police would be making a caricature of the health status of not just a Nigerian, but a distinguished serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. To this, we say, that the life and health of every man, is in the hands of God. Today, it is Dino. Who knows whom it might be,tomorrow.
Dino Melaye hereby denies most vehemently, the statement ascribed by AIG David Igbodo, to the effect that Dino has been absenting himself from his trial in Lokoja Kogi State. This statement by Mr Igbodo betrays their desperation to paint Dino black, just to rubbish his high reputation before the Nigerian public. The said statement is untrue and constitutes a calculated attempt to bias the mind of the judiciary, which will ultimately decide on these fake charges. Court processes and proceedings are public records which can be accessed by anyone. Senator Dino Melaye has consistently appeared for his trial in Lokoja, Kogi State. It is the Nigeria Police that is deliberately frustrating its case, apparently having no iota of evidence to substantiate the trumped up charges against Dino Melaye.
The Nigeria Police had consistently failed to produce one of the co-accused persons in court, the basis of which the trial has been stalled severally. It was only on the last adjourned date, that the Police orally informed the court that the said co-accused has died in detention. There was absolutely nothing before the court such as a medical report, to show the cause of the alleged death. The court berated the prosecution, and directed them to make a formal application to that effect; hence the matter was further adjourned.
Melaye has, within five months, and over six times, been charged before different hierarchies of Nigerian courts, on trumped-up charges, with a view to harass and intimidate him.
Some of these frivolous charges have either been withdrawn by the Police themselves or struck out by the courts, for being frivolous and vexatious, as he has not committed any known criminal offence.
Melaye says that no prior invitation was ever served on him as a serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, prior to the forceful invasion of his home by the agents of the Police in respect of any known offence.
He states that prior invitation ought to have been sent to him, as a serving Senator, through the Clerk of the National Assembly before the forceful invasion of his home, but none was ever served on him.
We, as Melaye’s lawyers, had to get him to voluntarily submit himself to the Police, following our assurance to him that we would carefully monitor the situation and ensure that no harm came to him.
Following Melaye’s voluntary submission to the Police in company of his lawyers, he was first taken to the SARS Police Station where he collapsed. Seeing his dangerous health situation, the police were forced to rush him to the Police hospital at Area 1, Garki, Abuja, where they kept him from 4th January to 11th January, 2019.
It is apposite to point out that when Dino got to the hospital, his BP was taken on 4th January, 2019 and it was 120/80.
By 6th of January, 2019, when it was again taken, it was 130/90. Similar exercise carried out on 7th January, 2019, revealed that the Applicant’s BP had frightenly shot up to 150/110, because of his terrible health situation. Dino was therefore rushed to Alliance Police Hospital by the Police themselves, where he was attended to by three specialist physicians – Neurologist, Pulmonologists and Cardiologist. Mr Igbodo is aware of that.
These specialists gave a medical report that Melaye should immediately be evacuated to either Alliance Hospital or National Hospital, Abuja, as his hospital at Garki can not provide the type of treatment or environment suitable for his recovery. Mr Igbodo and his all-powerful Police Force refused to honour this medical advice of experts and specialists till date. He knows very well the Police Hospital at Area 1 where he has been taken to is ill-equipped and there are no adequate specialists/personnel to care and cater for his peculiar degenerative health status.
Melaye’s statements were taken on the 8th of January, 2019, in his poor health condition and he has made three statements thus far.
Mr Igbodo knows as a matter of fact that no warrant of arrest was ever shown to Dino’s brother who had requested for same from the Police; and none was shown to Nkem Okoro, Esq, a lawyer from the law firm of Mike Ozekhomes’s Chambers, who had come to confirm if there was indeed any warrant for his arrest. Mr Igbodo also knows that no warrant of arrest was shown to his lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, whose intervention had led to Dino’s voluntary submission of himself to the Police; and none has been shown to Dino till date.
Since his incarceration in Police custody, both at the SARS office at Guzape, Abuja, and the Police hospital at Area 1, Garki, Abuja, Dino and team of lawyers had serially, continuously and variously begged the Police and operatives to grant Dino administrative bail, a request they have bluntly refused to grant.
Based on this refusal, we were compelled to write a formal letter to the Police, making the same request for administrative bail. The said letter has also not been replied to, nor its contents granted till date, by Mr Igbodo and his all-conquering Police.
To the utter shock of Melaye, Igbodo’s Police, on the 11th day of January, 2019, came with over six masked armed police officers, to Senator Dino Melaye’s hospital ward, where he had been detained in custody by the Police itself and whisked him away to the DSS medical facility, along Airport Road, Abuja, which is several kilometres away, without any justifiable reason.
On arrival at the DSS clinic, not sure of the sinister intentions and motives of the Police, having not complained to be taken away from the Police clinic, Dino refused to be admitted into the DSS clinic, since he had no issue with the DSS. The Policemen led by Mr Igbodo, who brought him to the DSS facility dumped him outside the hall, under the cold and indecent elements of nature, on Mr Igbodo’s instructions.
Dino was able to reach out to our law firm and we immediately sent representatives to go and inform the Police about the clear order of the court that he be kept in a Police facility and that our client had no business being in the DSS facility.
Upon our team of lawyers arriving there, the DSS security guard kept them outside for more than an hour. At the end of the day, they only allowed one of the lawyers, in the person of Miss Oluchi Uche, to have access into the DSS facility. On arriving there, the lawyer met with our client lying down helplessly on the floor, where he had been dumped on Mr Igbodo’s Orders.
Our representative requested to know why the Police were attempting to disobey the custodial court order which outrightly stated that Dino be kept in a Police facility. Mr Igbodo replied very cynically and aggressively that the Police have a right to detain an accused in any facility of their choice. He went ahead and threatened to chain, manacle and shackle Dino on his hands and bundle him into the facility, using brute force, if he refused to go in.
Miss Uche confronted Mr igbodo, advising him (a lawyer for that matter), against allowing himselve to be used as an instrument of oppression and illegality. Mr Igbodo boasted openly that Dino could sleep in the cold for all he cared. This notwithstanding the fact that Mr Igbodo knows Dino’s critical medical situation, attested to by his Police medical personnel. Consequently, he dumped Dino on the floor of the DSS facility, where he was left to sleep outside, in the cold. The whole world saw this ugly scene on the social and print media.
The latest in the Police magical performance (they are the ones actually playing comical scenes), is that Dino as at this morning, was moved to SARS detention custody where he is presently being kept.
The Nigeria Police is here reminded of the constitutional provisions in Section 36 of the Nigerian Constitution and other statutory and international instruments, which presume every accused person innocent until his guilt is established beyond all reasonable doubt before a court of competent jurisdiction. We have observed in the press conference by AIG David Igbodo, that he clearly made statements prejudicially suggesting that the Police have already concluded on the guilt of Senator Dino Melaye, without even waiting for any pronouncement by the courts to that effect. This, we believe, does not accord with internationally accepted best practices by Police any where in the world, contrary to Mr Igbodo’s ascertion. The world and the international community are hereby alerted about the evil machinations of the Nigeria Police Force towards Senator Dino Melaye.
Chief Mike A.A Ozekhome, SAN, OFR, FCIArb, Ph.D, LL.D
Chief Counsel/Head of Chambers