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Melaye denied freedom despite meeting bail terms – why it matters

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Melaye denied freedom despite meeting bail terms – why it matters

Despite meeting bail terms set by a High Court in Abuja after two weeks in detention, the Nigerian Police Force has refused to release Dino Melaye, with new charges leveled against the lawmaker.

Backstory: The Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District had been granted bail by Justice Yusuf Halilu of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday on health grounds. He provided three sureties with residency and properties in Abuja, and also the signature of National Assembly clerk on his bond. However, the Nigerian Police Force has snubbed the ruling.

Facing New Charges: Brand new charges have been filed against the lawmaker by the Police Force. The nine new charges border on allegations of obstruction of justice and also making false allegations against the police force, with reference to the Senator’s previous allegation that the former IGP, Ibrahim Idris had intentions of arresting him and injecting him with fatal substances, and also the allegation that the Police Force was plotting to plant guns in his cars.

Previous Charges and arrest: Melaye had previously been arrested by the Police on January 4, 2018 after the police had laid siege on his Abuja residence for eight days starting from December 28, on various counts including criminal conspiracy and attempted culpable murder, which he allegedly committed on July 19, 2018.

Earlier charges against the Senator stemmed from his alleged involvement in the attempted murder of Danjuma Saliu, a police officer in Kogi State, who according to officials hasn’t been responding well to treatment.

During his two week detention, the Senator was transferred from the custody of the Nigerian Police Force to a medical facility in Abuja belonging to the Department of State Services (DSS) for health reasons.

Melaye has maintained his innocence throughout the process, stating that the allegations were part of a witch-hunt orchestrated by then IGP Ibrahim Idris, based on his opposition of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) led government.

Why it matters: Apart from the obvious questions about the legality of holding on to Melaye, there are also implications for the senator’s reelection prospects. With the elections just over three weeks away, Melaye should ordinarily be campaigning. Wonder how this will affect his chances at the polls. With Melaye in custody, it also removes someone with high nuisance value for the administration with just weeks to the poll.

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