By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Kanayo Umeh, Segun Olaniyi and Odita Sunday
Abuja and Lagos — Senator Dino Melaye was yesterday hospitalised after a failed attempt by the Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) to take him to Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.
It was gathered that the lawmaker, who surrendered himself to the police for investigation on the allegations against him and detained at the SARS office along the Area 1 Expressway, Abuja, was told that he was being taken to court at about 1:15 p.m.
Melaye, it was further learnt, agreed to go to court with the armed operatives, but upon noticing that the vehicle was moving away from the city around the Area 1 Roundabout, he confronted the policemen asking to know why they were going in that direction.
Sources said the lawmaker, who resisted all attempts to be taken to that direction raised alarm loud enough to attract the attention of passersby.
It was further revealed that attention was drawn to the lawmaker’s plea for help and immediately, the SARS vehicle was surrounded by the passersby.
According to the source, the operatives became overwhelmed by the number of passersby and abandoned Melaye and drove off to avoid being lynched.
It was later found out that the lawmaker sustained some injuries as he battled with the policemen to get out of the vehicle.
Melaye was later taken to Zankli Hospital at the Mabushi District where he is receiving medical attention.
Journalists, who stormed the hospital, saw the lawmaker being wheeled from an ambulance on a stretcher into the emergency unit of the hospital.
Barely an hour after being admitted into the hospital, several truckloads of mobile policemen were spotted barricading the entrance to street where the hospital is situated.
Meanwhile, the Police Force Headquarters has explained the circumstances that led to Melaye’s escape while being taken to Lokoja, Kogi State, for possible parade and subsequent arraignment in court.
The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Jimoh Moshood, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), who spoke with journalists at the premises of the hospital, said men believed to be working for him, got wind of the police movement and attacked the police vehicle carrying him after which the senator jumped down and bolted away in the process.
Moshood said a middle-aged woman was also wounded in the process by the vehicle used by the senator’s men.
He said the police had since set in machineries to investigate the circumstance leading to the escape of the senator, adding that the senator would be pressed with additional case of escape from lawful custody.
He also said the vehicle used by the senator’s men to accost the police vehicle had since been recovered and taken into custody and that useful information had been obtained from its handlers.
In another development, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned what it called the relentless assault by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Federal Government against the institution of the National Assembly, particularly the Senate.
It lamented that the leadership of the Senate and elected senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are allegedly being harassed, arrested, detained and even arraigned on trumped-up charges for holding opinion divergent to that of the executive arm.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement yesterday, said: “Since the emergence of the current leadership of the Senate outside the preference of the ruling party and the executive arm, the Senate has been under attack while senators who show support for the leadership are being hounded and harassed by agents of the executive.
“The world has been watching with horror since it started with the arraignment of Senate President Bukola Saraki, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and other senators on trumped-up charges as well as attempt to rope in the Deputy Senate President on charges related to treason.
“Today, we are witnessing the harassment and arrest of Senator Dino Melaye, who is known for his support for the Senate leadership and his criticisms of the excesses of the executive arm.
“Currently, Senators Aliyu Wamakko, Rabiu Kwakwanso and Danjuma Goje are all being harassed for holding opinions that do not suit the whims and caprices of the executive.”