Stern-looking mobile policemen on Monday cordoned off the Abuja residence of the embattled chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, Dino Melaye.
The armed policemen numbering about 40 were stationed around the senator’s house – Number 11 Sangha Street, Maitama Abuja.
Led by Commissioner of Police, John Haruna, they also barricaded the street with police patrol vehicles and a Toyota Hiace Bus marked ABUJA RSH 193 TP.
Findings showed that the security men arrived the residence at about 1:25pm and are still there between 2:30pm and
6:11pm when our correspondent was at the scene.
Speaking to journalists at the scene of the siege, one of his lawyers, Frank Tietie, described the incident as unconstitutional.
Describing the act as an invasion, he challenged the police to produce a court order to justify their action.
His said: “What we are experiencing today is that the house of Dino Melaye is currently under siege by Nigerian Police men without appropriate legal instruments to justify holding the Senator to siege. We consider this kind of armed siege unjustifiable, because there is no legal instrument or no court order to that effect.
“This is one of the only few Nigerians in authority who speak for the people, who use the opportunity to speak to power. Recently, he challenged the federal government concerning the intractable and terrible security situation we are facing in this country. He has challenged the president to be up and doing. Nigerians are dying everyday, and this is the only person who is speaking for Nigerians, and here we are, for just being the lone voice in the Senate he is being harassed. His fundamental right to liberty, movement, hold opinion is being affected as we speak. This is outright harassment and unacceptable. You can now imagine that this is happening to the Distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, what hope then does the Nigerian citizen have?
“I will challenge the police to offer us the proper legal instrument, the court order that justifies this invasion, holding this honourable Nigerian to ransome”.
On why the lawmaker has not submitted himself to the police, Tietie said: “Under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, particularly Section 98, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court has the discretionary powers to consider the security of an accused person.
“We have written to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court saying his (Dino’s) safety is not guaranteed in Kogi State.
“According to Dino, he has escaped two assassination attempts. There is a police headquarters in Abuja. He is safe there. He can go there and tender himself for questioning. His right to life must first and foremost be guaranteed”.
Some senators who visited the lawmaker’s residence on a solidarity visit, condemned the siege.
They include: Senate Minority Whip, Phillip Aduda; his deputy Biodun Olujimi; Chairman Senate Committee on Navy Isah Misau and his counterpart in Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Rafiu Ibrahim.
“I came to check on him only to find out that the place is barricaded. I’m going to make enquiries and see. I asked them what happened, they said they had instructions to come in,” Olujimi told journalists after she spoke to Haruna at the scene.
As of the time of filing this report at 6:20pm, Melaye’s supporters are still arriving the scene in droves, even as the policemen are still stationed there.
OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja