I came ready to be sent to prison, says Melaye as court grants him bail

 

Dino Melaye, senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District at the National Assembly, has been granted bail after he was arraigned before the Federal High Court, Abuja, for providing false information to the Police.

Melaye is accused of falsely informing the police that one Edward Onoja, Chief of Staff to Yahaya Bello, Governor of Kogi State, had sent assassins against him. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail in the sum of N100,000 and one surety who must be a civil servant of not lower than Grade Level 14.

After the court session, Melaye told reporters that he had already prepared himself for prison should the court order his remandment.

Bringing out a tube of toothpaste, toothbrush, toiletries and a bottle of coca-cola, Melaye said he had brought those things along as he had no fear and was ready to be sent to prison.

“I came to the court prepared, I bought these items in case I am sent to prison after the arraignment,” he said.

Ricky Tarfa (SAN), Melaye’s lawyer had prayed the court to grant his client bail in accordance with sections 35, 36(5) of the constitution, as well as sections 158 and 163 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).

However, Shuaibu Labaran filed a five-paragraph affidavit opposing the bail application on the premise that Melaye “would not be found” if he is released.

“As prosecution, we not only vehemently oppose this bail application, we owe it as a duty to advise this court to be weary of conditions to be imposed for the release of the defendant on bail, bearing in mind what happened in the case of Mr Nnamdi Kanu,” Labaran told the court.

But Tarfa argued that Melaye, being a member of the Senate, Chairman of a Senate committee and member of the Senate constitution review committee, cannot jump bail.

Giving her ruling, Justice Olasumbo Goodluck held that the ACJA empowers the court to grant bail where punishment for an offence does not exceed three years and where the prosecution could not provide convincing evidence why bail should be withheld.

Goodluck, after granting bail to Melaye, adjourned the case to May 16 and 17 for continuation of hearing.




    About 20 other senators accompanied Melaye to the court on Thursday, including members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

    Outside the court premises, pro-Melaye protesters were seen carrying banners and placards in support of Melaye whom they described as a courageous lawmaker.

    Melaye’s arraignment came as a surprise to many, given that the Nigerian police had paraded some six suspects saying they were arrested in connection to the alleged assassination attempt.

    Jimoh Moshood, Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Police Force, paraded the suspects few weeks after the purported incident. At the time, Moshood said the suspects confessed to the crime.

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