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Melaye’s arrest forces Senate shutdown


SENATORS yesterday resolved to adjourn plenary in solidarity with one of their own, Senator Dino Melaye, who is being held by the police in Abuja.

The upper chamber also resolved to invite Inspector General Ibrahim Idris to throw light on the circumstances that led to the arrest and detention of Melaye.

The police boss is to appear before the Senate in plenary by 11am today to explain alleged inhuman treatment being meted to the Kogi West senator.

Early yesterday, photographs went viral depicting Melaye in handcuff on his hospital bed.

Senators took turns to condemn what they described as “denigration and calculated onslaught against the institution of the Senate”.

Senator Samuel Anyanwu (Imo East), after what appeared subdued anger and apprehension in the chamber, drew the attention of his colleagues to the arrest, detention and hospitalisation of Melaye allegedly on police order.

Anyanwu, who came under order of privilege, told the Senate that he was aware that Melaye was being treated “like a common criminal”.

Senator Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North), who seconded the motion, described it as an important motion that should be given the attention it deserved.

Senator Isa Hamman Misau (Bauchi Central) noted that even police statement on the matter was clear that Melaye’s case was still an allegation.

Misau insisted that “an allegation remains an allegation until proven to be true”.

He said it was on record that Melaye had insisted that his life would be in danger, if taken to Kogi State.

He wondered why the police were insisting that Melaye must be taken to Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.

Senator Mohammed Gobir noted that the state he saw Melaye on Tuesday evening was frightening.

Gobir said: “Dino was brought on a stretcher to the hospital. I saw Dino; it was terrible. It was not a good sight.”

A dramatic contribution was added to the debate by Kaduna Central Senator, Shehu Sani.

Sani reminded those in authority that power is transient.

On his own, Senator Mohammed Ubali Shittu (Jigawa State) noted: “Yesterday, it was war against the judiciary, today it is war against the parliament.”

He said it was obvious that some institutions were being used to target persons perceived to be enemies of the government.

Shittu, who noted that what he was saying could cause him his life, said he was prepared to pay the supreme sacrifice.

Senator Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West) described the issue as “emotional”.

Adamu said: “In moments like this, it is not a matter of what he did or didn’t do on the floor of this hallowed chamber.

“I think the issue is how we get him out of the situation he is in. The emphasis now is what can we do as colleagues to bring him out of this present predicament he is now in. The outpouring of confrontational languages does not help us in this situation.”

Senator Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central) said: “We should face the issue. If we are talking about a particular issue, we should stay with it. When we begin to bring a government that a lot of people supported to be here to use whatever happened to implicate the government, I  think I’m against that.

“Immediately Senator Omo-Agege was led away by the police, you will know that the sanctity of this place had been invaded.”

The Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, who was delegated to visit Melaye at the National Hospital, Abuja briefed his colleagues on his findings.

Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki, who summed up submissions of senators, noted that what was happening was not healthy for democracy.

He said the prevailing situation portends danger, especially in the light of the fact that in a matter of months, the political terrain would practically kick-off with campaigns across the country.

The prayer to summon the IG to explain circumstances surrounding the arrest and detention of Melaye was unanimously adopted.

Senator Mao Ohuabunwa (Abia North) raised additional prayer that the Senate should shutdown to enable members go to the National Hospital to know what was happening to Melaye.

The prayer was again unanimously adopted.

Saraki, who stormed the hospital with an entourage of about 40 senators, was allowed to go into the trauma centre where Melaye was being given medical attention.

Only eight of the about 40 senators were allowed to accompany Saraki to the ward, while others were made to wait in the hospital’s conference hall.

The President of the Senate, who came out of the ward after spending about 20 minutes with Melaye, said the embattled lawmaker was in stable condition but that he still required medical attention.

On whether Melaye was still in handcuffs, Saraki said: “No, he is not in handcuffs”

Courtesy: THE NATION




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