By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA – A human rights lawyer, Barrister Frank Tietie, has urged the Senate to stop further legislative business in protest against Monday’s arrest of Senator Dino Melaye by men of the Nigerian Immigration Service and further siege to his Abuja home by police personnel.
Senator Dino Melaye
Tietie, who is the Executive Director of Citizens Advocacy For Social & Economic Rights,CASER, in a statement Monday evening, frowned at the development, saying the action of the police against the senator, who he described as a vocal voice against the wrongs of the government, was tarnishing the image of the country.
The Abuja based legal practitioner, insisted that the Senate must stop further sitting in solidarity with the Nigerian people and Senator Dino Melaye “until his fundamental rights are recognised and enforced by the Nigerian police who must immediately lift the siege on his house.”
He said the organization was concerned about the freedom and safety of Senator Dino Melaye, following the development.
The statement read further:”CASER, as an individual and communal human rights protection organisation, recognises Senator Melaye as one of the only few persons in authority in Nigeria who has distinguished himself by constantly and consistently speaking truth to power on behalf of the Nigerian people.
“Senator Dino has recently, with boldness denounced the seemingly intractable state of insecurity in Nigeria and has challenged the President Buhari led administration to urgently arrest the situation or consider calling the international community to provide security for the Nigerian people under the United Nations’ principle of Responsibility to Protect.
“CASER is aware and considers as puerile, the various attempts by the authorities to repress the highly vociferous, distinguished Senator, by filing criminal charges against him. This is another abuse of prosecutorial powers which CASER has always decried.
“CASER views the spirited and desperate moves by the authorities to arrest and take Senator Melaye to Kogi State either for trial at the Federal High Court or for questioning as a ploy to exterminate or eliminate the irrepressible voice of the masses in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“As of the time of this writing, there are scores of policemen that have laid siege to Senator Dino’s house after they failed to arrest him at the Airport today, when the Nigerian Immigration Service didn’t find any reason to continue to hold him and therefore released him.
“Senator Dino Melaye has no reason to fear and has indicated that he would submit himself to the due process of the law regarding any allegations but where his life cannot be guaranteed, the police must first show concern about that as an issue, rather than being overzealous in ensuring that he is arrested and taken to Kogi State where his physical, political enemies, who have failed twice to assassinate him are waiting to attack and kill him.
“President Buhari as head of government, together with the Honourable Attorney General and the Inspector General of Police must ensure that Senator Dino Melaye is kept alive to continue his political crusade for the Nigerian people. Dino has always advocated for the safety and security of the Nigerian people and that they must enjoy justice and freedom from any form of state or governmental oppression. The authorities are afraid of his voice of truth and justice for the people.
“CASER is worried that if a distinguished Senator can be so harassed, intimidated threatened to being deprived of his fundamental Human rights to Life, Liberty, Freedom of Movement with Freedom of Expression and to hold opinions then, wherein lies the hope for the ordinary citizens to enjoy their rights?
“CASER hereby calls on the Nigerian Senate to abort is Tuesday sitting in solidarity with the Nigerian people and Senator Dino Melaye. That until his fundamental rights are recognised and enforced by the Nigerian police who must immediately lift the siege on his house, the Nigerian Senate should no longer sit to conduct legislative business.
“The police are giving a terrible publicity and a serious damage to the international image of Nigeria as a country where standard criminal procedures are not followed to ensure citizens’ fundamental human rights.
“Whereas, the State and the government can exercise their powers to prosecute any citizen, such prosecutorial responsibility must not be exercised in accordance to law.
“The siege on Senator Dino’s house must be immediately lifted, NOW!”