The police on Wednesday re-arraigned the Kogi East Senator, Dino Melaye, before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Apo, Abuja, on charges bordering on his alleged attempted suicide and subsequent escape from a police vehicle in Abuja on April 24, 2018.
He was earlier on May 2, 2018, arraigned before a Magistrate’s Court in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja on the same set of charges.
But the charges before the magistrate’s court were later withdrawn by the prosecution and re-filed before the High Court.
The senator pleaded not guilty to all the six counts read to him before Justice Sylvanus Oriji of the FCT High Court on Wednesday.
The prosecution led by Dr Alex Izinyon (SAN), alleged in the charges that Melaye was on April 24, 2018, in Abuja, being conveyed in a white police Hiace bus with number plate marked NPF 3354D, to Lokoja, Kogi State, when he allegedly committed the offences he was charged with.
The prosecution said Melaye was being taken to Lokoja to be arraigned in a Magistrate’s Court for conspiracy and unlawful possession of firearms when he allegedly “intentionally obstructed the police officers” from conveying “by forcing” his way “out of the said bus and escaped.”
Melaye was said to have used his “left elbow” to break “the glass on the second window to the last at the left side of the bus belonging to the Nigerian Police Force.”
The police alleged that when the senator was “to be rearrested” by police officers, he “threatened” to kill himself “and put the police officers in trouble”, a development which the police said “prevented them from re-arresting” him.
The senator was then said to have escaped from the scene “by means of a white Toyota Hilux with registration number Kaduna MKA 603 GY.”
The acts of the defendant described in the six-count were said to have amounted to “obstruction of public servants in the discharge of their public functions”, “threat of injury to public servants”, “resistance to lawful arrest”, “escape from custody where lawfully detained”, “attempt to commit suicide”, and “mischief by causing wrongful loss or damage to property of the Nigeria Police Force.”
The alleged offences were said to have been contrary to the provisions of sections 148,153,173,231, 326 and 327 of the Penal Code.
After Melaye pleaded not guilty to the charges, his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), urged Justice Oriji to grant bail to the senator by adopting the same terms and conditions of bail earlier imposed on the defendant by the Wuse magistrate’s court in May.
He told the judge that Melaye would not jump bail as he was interested in clearing his name.
Responding, however, the prosecutor, Izinyon, said the judge should rather use his discretion to grant fresh bail to the defendant.
The defendant was earlier granted bail by the magistrate’s court in the sum of N90m with two sureties in like sum, among other terms and conditions.
But ruling on Wednesday, Justice Oriji granted fresh bail to the senator in the sum of N5m with two sureties in like sum.
The judge also ordered that the sureties, who must be residents of Abuja, must be directors in the civil service.
The proposed sureties must also depose to affidavits of means.
Justice Oriji, who is currently sitting as a vacation judge of the FCT High Court, said the case would be re-assigned to another judge of the court at the end of the ongoing judges’ vacation.