A senior magistrate’s court sitting in Lokoja, yesterday said the case against Senator Dino Melaye and two others was not a bailable offence, given the course of the case. The Senator and two other defendants were arraigned on seven-count charge of criminal conspiracy and unlawful possession of firearms, contrary to section 97(1) and the Penal Code and section 27(1)(a) (1) of the firearms Act CAP P28, laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004 Melaye, who was brought to court by the police in an ambulance and stretcher, was earlier granted bail by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on another case.
He was rearrested by the police from the court premises. Earlier, the lead counsel to the prosecution, Dr Alex Izinyon (SAN), urged the court to remand Kabiru Seidu, 31 and Nuhu Salihu, 25, in police custody to assist the police in furtherance of their investigations.
He, however, urged that Melaye be remanded in prison custody, given the provisions of the enabling statutes, that the minimum sentence upon conviction was 10 years under the Firearms Act. According to Izinyon, the senator was an influential person and could jeopardise investigation. Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), leading six other lawyers for the defendants, in his oral application for the bail of his client, said that Melaye was asthmatic and sick, and should be granted bail to go for medical attention.
Ozokhome, while objecting to the prayer of the prosecution, swiftly moved for Melaye’s bail, citing section 97(2) of the penal code and section 56 of the Kogi State administration of criminal justice law, which said the offences are bailable.
He also presented two medical reports from the National Hospital, which signified that Melaye was bedridden owing to a spinal cord injuries he sustained and said he cannot jump bail, stressing that as a vocal senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he could not have jumped bail.Ozekhome said the senator was only yesterday (Wednesday) granted bail by an Abuja court in liberal terms, adding that he had been in police custody and it was the same police that brought him to the court. “We can apply for bail for this traumatized asthmatic senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria lying here before your worship on a stretcher.”
“Dino Melaye here is not charged with murder in this case. The senator, who is seen every day on the floor of the Senate making laws for the country, will stand his trial.”
“I humbly urge my Lord to grant bail in selfrecognizance to the fourth defendant because he will not jump bail. He will stand his trial and meet bail conditions”, he said.
The trial judge, while giving his ruling, said the court had listened carefully to the submissions of both counsel and concluded that the case was not bailable. He, therefore, ordered that all the three accused persons be remanded in police custody while Melaye should be allowed access to his medication, and adjourned the case till June 11 for mention.