‘We don’t meddle into politics’ — INTERPOL denies placing Melaye on watch list

The International Police Organisation, commonly referred to as INTERPOL, says Dino Melaye, controversial Kogi State senator, is not on its watch list, contrary to the claims by the Nigeria Police Force.

Ali Janga, Kogi State Commissioner of Police, had released a statement last week declaring Melaye wanted following the escape of two criminal suspects (who had confessed that the lawmaker supplied them guns with which they carried out robberies and assassinations) from police custody .

Janga added that both Melaye and Mohammed Audu, son of late politician Abubakar Audu, had been placed on INTERPOL’s watch list.

But  responding to an inquiry by Premium Times, INTERPOL said even if the police in Nigeria had filed a formal complaint against Melaye, the request may not have been approved.

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“It is strictly forbidden for the organisation to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character,” the agency said.

“INTERPOL evaluates legal and quality compliance issues in individual cases if it becomes aware of information that may prompt reevaluation of a case.

“If no Red Notice is published on INTERPOL’s public website, this is either because one has not been requested or issued for that person, or the requesting country has asked that it not be made public, or the Red Notice did not meet the criteria for publication on INTERPOL’s public website.”

In October 2017, Garba Shehu, Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, had told journalists that Abdulrasheed Maina had been placed on INTERPOL’s watch list. But the agency denied the claim.

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Maina is the former Chairman of the Pension Reforms Task Team, who has been on the run since he was declared wanted for embezzling billions of recovered pension funds.

But unlike Maina, Melaye is not on the run. In fact, he has continued to carry out his business as usual, attending Senate plenaries and other social functions despite having been declared wanted by the police.

Gideon Ayodele, Melaye’s spokesman said on Tuesday that the police orderly attached to his principal was still with him.

“You’re talking about the INTERPOL which is a reputable international organisation, there’s no way they could have acted like our police,” Ayodele said.

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“Don’t forget that the police don’t even have a valid arrest warrant issued by any court of law in Nigeria to be looking for my boss.

“Did they think INTERPOL will just declare a serving senator wanted without doing the due diligence and professionalism? All the allegations against my boss are political and we shall overcome this situation.”

Meanwhile, the Kogi State police command says all the suspects who escaped from detention last week, including the two who indicted Melaye, have bee rearrested.

The suspects were said to have been arrested at different locations last week, with the last, Seidu, arrested on Sunday night in Bauchi State.

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