As the police re-arraigned embattled Senator Dino Melaye in Lokoja court, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara has urged security agencies to ensure that his life is secured before prosecution.
Dogara, who gave the charge while ruling on a matter of personal explanation brought to the floor by Hon. Sunday Karimi (PDP, Kogi) also, expressed concerns over the action of the police to arraign Melaye in court on a stretcher.
He said “Karimi is talking about rule of law and due process, and we have our own rules in this house. So, we will abide by that. All I can say is that nothing can happen to the senator. If anyone in this country commits an offence, the law is there for the person to be prosecuted or arraigned in court within the ambit of the law.
“I don’t think the law supports a situation whereby someone is in a dire health situation and is being arraigned most especially that that person is a senator. It is unthinkable that a distinguished senator or an honourable member of this house would run away from trial”, he stated.
Continuing, the speaker cautioned: “So, my admonition to the security agencies is to do everything possible to ensure that his life is secured first before prosecution. Prosecution cannot come at the expense of death and that is very important because if anything happened to him, the responsibility will lie on the security agencies.
“That is without mincing of words; because I have not seen a country where someone will be arraigned in a stretcher; where he is not even in the right frame of mind to even take a plea. So, what use is it if you’re taken someone to court and he cannot plead guilty or not guilty. So, the emphasis should be on his health first.
Earlier, while raising the issue, Hon. Sunday Karimi alleged that Senator Melaye is “facing persecution because of his belief and the House must not continue to sit down and keep quite. We should ensure that the rule of law prevails in this case. It is happening to Senator Dino today, it could happen to any of us”
Karimi decried the large number of police men deployed to guard Senator Melaye. “I visited him in the hospital and counted up to 38 policemen. On Saturday, INEC went to conduct his recall. Only yesterday, he was arraigned in court in Abuja. Today, Dino was carried in an ambulance to Lokoja”
Attempts by other members to comment on the matter were rebuffed by the speaker who ruled that since it ia a matter of personal explanation and since the Senate is already looking into the issue, it can only be referred to a committee of the House for further legislative action.