FLASH: Jailbreak In Kogi As 2 Suspects Involved In Melaye’s Case Disappear

The Kogi State Police command has confirmed the escape of two suspects, Kabiru Saidu A.k.a Osama and Nuhu Salisu A.k.a small from police detention one week after accusing the lawmaker representing Kogi West Senator, Dino Melaye of arm sponsorship.

Confirming the incident to newsmen on Wednesday in Lokoja; the Kogi State commissioner of Police, Ali Janga said the incident happened at about 3:21am of March 28 as four other suspects namely, Aliyu Isa, Adams Suleiman; Emmanuel Audu, and Musa Mohammed also escaped from police detention.

Janga noted that the five Special Anti Robbery Squad office (SARS) and seven conventional police officers on duty have been detained by the command for interrogation.

According to Janga; when he visited the scene of the incident; it was obvious that there was conspiracy between some police officers and the runaway suspects.

“When I got to the scene of the incident; what I observed was a constructive escape. Because, the padlock to one of the exhibit rooms through which the suspects escaped was opened. And they used hammers, nail cutter, and shovel to hit the iron bar of the window, bend it and removed one block.

“Three of our SARS operatives were even behind the cell, and two in front, including some conventional police officers and two station guard. Definitely, I believe there is a serious connivance that led to the escape of the six suspects,” the police commissioner stated.

 

The police, however, declared all the six suspects wanted including Senator Dino Melaye and Mohammed Audu who according to Janga failed to honour police invitation.

He vowed that whoever that was behind the incident would be brought to book irrespective of their rank in the police force.

“The command hereby appeal to the members of the public to assist the police with useful information on the whereabouts of the suspects by reporting to the nearest police station,” Janga added.

Updated: Police Declare Dino Melaye Wanted

The police on Wednesday declared Dino Melaye, a senator from Kogi State, wanted.

The lawmaker was declared wanted alongside Mohammed Audu, son of a former governor of the state, Abubakar Audu.

Police said the duo have also been placed on Interpol watchlist for allegedly providing false information to the police in relation to an alleged attempt on Mr. Melaye’s life last year.

The announcement was made in a statement signed by Kogi police commissioner, Ali Janga, and distributed by the Force Headquarters Wednesday afternoon.

Mr. Melaye had earlier written to the Inspector-General Ibrahim Idris stating his intention to submit himself to the police for investigation.

But the senator attached a condition that the case must only be handled in Abuja and not in Lokoja or anywhere in Kogi State, saying Governor Yahaya Bello has control of law enforcement agencies in the state.

The senator also wrote to the U.S. Embassy, the British High Commission and other foreign missions over the weekend, alleging attempt by the police to hurt him.

While he was being declared wanted shortly before noon Wednesday, Mr. Melaye was on the floor of the Senate during which he lambasted the police again and alleged conspiracy against him.

The police declared him wanted as they were announcing the disappearance of some suspects who allegedly indicted Mr. Melaye last week from custody. The police said they escaped Wednesday morning and declared them wanted while also announcing pending investigation of all officers on duty at the time of the escape.

Mr. Melaye said the police are plotting a cover-up by either killing the suspects or orchestrating their escape.

 

“I will sue the IGP for intimidation, abuse of power, harassment and mental assault if these 2 suspects are not produced dead or alive,” Mr. Melaye said on the floor of the Senate according to a transcript of Wednesday’s proceeding provided on the Senate’s Twitter handle.

I’ve Not Fled Nigeria – Dino Melaye

A Nigerian senator, Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West) on Tuesday attended the plenary of the senate at the National Assembly complex, amidst a report he has fled the country

SaharaReporter Newspaper reported that the embattled senator fled Nigeria over the political crisis in Kogi State and his trial by the federal government, adding that he begged the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to fight for him.

Mr Melaye, in a statement on Saturday, denied the report stating that he had no reason to flee the country.

Sequel to the report, police spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, in a statement on Saturday, said an invitation and a court summon had been issued to Mr Melaye, both of which he said the senator did not honour.

The police spokesperson added that the senator is wanted for allegedly arming suspected criminals.

He said Mr. Melaye’s summon followed the arrest of two men in Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State, on January 19, who allegedly confessed to having committed various crimes such as kidnappings and armed robbery.

Mr. Moshood said the suspects also disclosed that Mr. Melaye had handed them a bag containing firearms.

At the senate plenary on Tuesday, Mr Melaye taunted Mr. Moshood for “making him (Melaye) so important” to the extent of organising two press conferences on his matter in one week.

He made this statement while contributing to a point of order raised by Isa Misau (APC, Bauchi) asking the senate to wade into the controversy between Mr Melaye and the police.

Coming under order 42, Mr. Misau urged the senate to order the police to treat Mr. Melaye’s matter in Abuja, stating that if he (Melaye) is allowed to go to Kogi State, he would be risking his life and there would also be a breakdown of law and order.

“The press statement by the Force PRO where they claimed that there are certain suspects alleging Senator Dino Melaye and Mohammed Audu gave them weapon and money to carry out some atrocities in Kogi state, where they said Senator Dino Melaye has been taken to court in Kogi State.

“From the intelligence that we have gathered from Kogi State, if we allow this, if police is allowed to be used to take Senator Dino Melaye to Kogi, there will be possible breakdown of law and order because there are supporters of Senator Dino Melaye and supporters of the governor.

“If we allow this tension whereby even the security situation is bad and then you allow them to take someone who has problem with the state government and where their supporters are there, there will be problem. I think we are not doing good and risking the life of our colleague.

“Apart from that the police are making statements that the weapons that were given on airport road, there are issues of jurisdiction. The issues should be separated, the people that committed atrocities in Kogi they can be tried in Kogi. We are calling for fairness, justice. This matter should be treated in Abuja where everyone will be seen.

“The international community is watching to see what we are going to do. I have never seen where police will take a charge to court – criminal matter – without taking his statement. If they say they didn’t see him to serve him (court processes), Dino Melaye is a public figure, his house is in Maitama and his office.

“They even say that if Dino Melaye does not appear in court tomorrow they will declare him wanted. If the matter is already in court, it is left for the judge to decide what to do. Once the matter is in court police have removed their hands,” Mr Misau said.

While contributing to the point of order, Mr Melaye said he was yet to receive a criminal summon from any court and expressed disappointment at the police for threatening to declare him wanted.

“Mr. President, as I speak to you, the media has been awash that I fled this country, that I am not in Nigeria and I would not return until there is change of government. But here am I physically, flesh and blood.

“I start by saying that, I have not received any criminal summon from any court within the territorial area of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I also want to say that Mr. President, I have not received any arraignment notice from any court. I also read in the media where Mohammed Abdul addressed a conference to say that he has not been served by any court in Nigeria.

“My house is known, my office is known, and there was no attempt to even serve me any court summon in any of my known addresses. That is to start with.

“Despite the fact that I have not been served, an arraignment has been carried out according to the press briefing by Moshood. No statement has been taken from me. So I do not know what investigation was conducted, before the report generated and have been arraigned according to newspaper and social media report. But physically as Dino Melaye, I have not received any summon from any court.

“I am also appalled, why would the Force PRO of the Force Headquarters leave Abuja to go to Lokoja to parade criminals while the state command have their PPRO? Even when Evans, the notorious kidnapper in the history of Federal Republic of Nigeria, was arrested, he was paraded by Lagos command and the PPRO of Lagos State addressed the media.

“Since last week, they have made me so important, they have made me a national subject that Force PRO addressed two press conferences on Dino Melaye alone. They refused to have press conference on Dapchi girls, Boko Haram and the killings going on in the North and the riverine area of the country, but they addressed press conference on an innocent man twice in one week and even declaring that if I am not in court, I would be declared wanted for a matter that has already been taken to court,” Mr Melaye said.

The lawmaker told the Senate that when he was allegedly attacked in April 2017, the police arrested a gang of six people who were paraded by the Force PRO.

He added that the suspects had made confessional statements, guns and ammunition were recovered from them and the vehicle they used was also recovered and “all these were exhibit and laid before Kogi State judiciary.

“These criminals have even been arraigned in court and their testimonies have been accepted as exhibits in court. Yet, one of those declared wanted by the police in my assassination attempt, is the one saying that on Airport Road in December, I gave him three AK 47 and N430, 000 inside my car. But as I speak to you, they failed in their myopic ignorance to state a date and time.

“I want to understand how an arraignment can be done with a criminal’s confession with no date or no time. Because if you give me a date and time, I would be able to account for where I was on that date and time. You would know that the corpse they buried, they left the legs outside,” he added.

Mr Melaye vowed to remain with the truth hoping that the truth will set him free.

“I serve a living God, what God has given me, no man can take and what God has not given to me, no man can give. On his own I stand and I know in God I trust. I have written all the international diplomatic organisations, United Nations, Amnesty International and by the grace of God, I will be on CNN and hard talk on BBC in London. I am going to speak on the loudest part of my voice. If I die, I die; but I shall not die without fighting,” he said.

The senate, thereafter, resolved to mandate the committees on Police and Judiciary to investigate the issue and report back in 48 hours.

Suspects Reveals Relationship With Senator Dino Melaye

Senator Dino Melaye is in another fresh drama with the authorities as he has been linked to the suspected political thugs arrested by Kogi state Police command.

According to reports one of the two suspects paraded by the police on Monday in Kogi State has narrated how Senator Dino Melaye representing Kogi west in the national assembly gave him an AK47 rifle, two pump action guns and N430, 000 to cause mayhem in Kogi State.

Following this confession the police in a statement on Monday released by its spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, said they have filed a case in a Lokoja court accusing the senator and three other persons of illegal possession of firearms.

The police took the action, following the confession of two ‘dreaded’ thugs who claimed they were working for Melaye.

The men were arrested on 19 January at Ogojueje in Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State, after a shootout with the police and have confessed being hired by Melaye, to cause mayhem in the state, Moshood said.

One of the persons arrested was identified as 31 years-old Kabiru Saidu, a.k.a Osama. The other was Nuhu Salisu, who is 25 years-old. The third person charged to court was identified as Alhaji Muhammed Audu, a politician, who is now said to be at large.

The police said they seized from the thugs and their gang members, two AK47 rifles, five pump action guns, two locally made pistols and heaps of charms.

According to the police, the men not only confessed to have been involved in several kidnappings in the state and environs, they also claimed to be hired thugs for politicians.

“According to the gang leader, Osama, he has been working as a political thug for one Alhaji Mohammed Audu a Politician in the State.

”He said Alhaji Mohammed Audu invited him to Abuja and introduced him to Senator Dino Melaye and they met on Airport road, Abuja inside the Senator Dino Melaye’s Car in the month of December, 2017.

“The suspect further confessed that Sen. Dino Melaye told him that they should start working for the Senator as his political thugs and they should recruit and train more other(sic) thugs to work for him in preparation toward 2019 General election to enable him (Sen. Dino Melaye) challenge his political opponents and disorganise Kogi State.

The police said Osama further confessed that Melaye handed over a bag containing one AK47 rifle, two Pump Action guns and the N430,000.00 to share with his boys.

“Consequent on the indictments and criminal confessions against Senator Dino Melaye by the principal suspect KABIRU SAIDU a.k.a OSAMA “31 YRS”, Nigeria Police Force, wrote a letter dated 2nd of March, 2018 addressed to the Senate President, Federal Republic of Nigeria informing and requesting him to release Senator Dino Melaye to report to Commissioner of Police, Kogi State Command on the 7th March, 2018 to answer to criminal offences levelled against him, to enable the Police carry out a discreet investigation into the confessions of the principal suspect against Senator Dino Melaye. But Senator Dino Melaye have refused to honour the Police invitation till date.

“A case of Criminal Conspiracy and unlawful possession of prohibited firearms have therefore been filed by the Nigeria Police Force at Federal High Court Lokoja on 16th March, 2018 against the two suspects mentioned above, Senator Dino Melaye and Alh. Mohammed Audu who is also a suspect in the matter and is now on the run.

 

Senate Raises Alarm Over NNPC’s Illegal Account

The Senate has raised alarm over an illegal account belonging to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation.

According to Senator Dino Melaye of APC Kogi West, who raised the alarm through a point of order is being operated by NNPC and some expatriates in the oil industry under the name of a registered company called Brass NLG Limited with the Federal Government controlling the account.

The Senate indicted the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of allegedly operating a N42. 005 billion illegal account.

According to him, the account which by extant laws is supposed to be domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is domiciled in a Keystone Bank and without Bank Verification Number (BVN).He alleged that periodic withdrawals are being made from the account, the latest of which was $4 million (N220 million), which he said made the account to now have a balance of $137 million (N41.785billion).

Senate President, Bukola Saraki ruled that the substantive motion on the alleged fraud would be deliberated upon today.Also yesterday, the Senate asked the NNPC to carry out immediate forensic audit of the controversial $16.3 billion Egina oil project.

The Senate ad-hoc committee on local content noted that the project being undertaken by Total Upstream Nigeria Limited, which started in 2013 and is almost 90 per cent completed has not been audited in any form since the commencement of the project estimated to produce 200, 000 barrels of oil per day

Chairman of the committee, Senator Solomon Adeola, in his opening remarks, said that the cost of the project was said to have been raised from $6 billion to $16.3 billion.NNPC Chief Operating Officer (Upstream) Bello Rabiu, in his testimony, told the committee that the contract sum for the Egina oil project remained $16.3 billion and not $6 billion.Out of the $16.3 billion, Rabiu said that they have already approved $10 billion for the project.

Meanwhile, state-owned Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited (PHRC), Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited (WRPC) and the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited will soon be funded by private financiers to perform at 90 per cent capacity, Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Maikanti Baru, said yesterday in Abuja.At a meeting with the staff, Baru said the corporation was inching closer to arriving at the choice of financiers for the refineries.

Currently performing far below capacity, the feasibility of private funding of the refineries is expected to improve output and reduce importation of refined crude into the country and boost petroleum products supply as well as distribution in the nation.

There are also possibility of new refining capacities to come on board as two consortia have already indicated interest to co-locate refineries in Warri and Port Harcourt, while two Greenfields are expected later this year in Kano and Kaduna, Baru said.

According to him, agreements on the potential financiers for the refineries are being fine-tuned, following which the endorsement of the NNPC Board would be done this month.He described the procedure for electing the financiers as painstaking, noting, however, that it was necessary to enable a desired closure on the subject.

 

INEC Awaits Appeal Court Decision On Melaye’s Recall Process

The Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC ) has said it would await Court of Appeal’s decision on the latest suit on the recall of Sen. Dino Melaye before taking further steps on it.

The commission disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday night in Abuja by Mr Solomon Soyebi, a National Commissioner, and its Chairman, Information, and Voter Education Committee.

INEC had in its amended timetable and schedule of activities on the recall of Melaye, who represents Kogi West Senatorial District at the Senate, planned to issue the notice for signatures verification on Tuesday.

The amendment of the timetable was made pursuant to the order of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

In its judgment in a suit filed by Melaye to stop the recall process, the court dismissed the action and ordered INEC to serve him personally with his constituents’ petition for his recall and all accompanying documents.

The court directed that the documents must be served on Melaye at least two weeks to the commencement of the exercise to enable him to prepare adequately for the verification.

Meanwhile, the commission stated that all attempts to serve the senator had been futile as he had made himself unavailable.

It stated that the Bailiff of the High Court accompanied by INEC officials had visited the office of the Senator at the National Assembly and his residence on six occasions but to no avail.

The senator’s office was found locked, and the officials were also not able to gain access to him at his residence.

It added that on the resumption of the Senate after its recess, the senator refused to accept service of the documents.

“The Commission approached the court for substituted service but was directed to make another attempt to serve the senator.

“When this failed again, the commission returned to the court to pursue the request for substituted service but the court declined jurisdiction as the appeal by the senator had been entered at the Court of Appeal.”

The commission added that as a result of Melaye’s refusal to accept service of the petition, it had not been able to proceed with the process as earlier scheduled.

According to it, service of the documents on Melaye has become a condition precedent to continuing the exercise.

“INEC has therefore decided that in line with its usual practice and in deference to the rule of law, it will await the outcome of the decision of the Appeal filed by the Senator,” it said.

The commission reiterated determination to faithfully discharge all its constitutional and statutory duties and responsibilities.

It added that in doing so, it was not only guided by the Constitutional and statutory provisions, but also by the interpretations given by the courts.

“INEC does not have any interest whatsoever in the outcome of the Kogi West petition for recall.

“Its interest is limited to ensuring that all electoral activities are undertaken in line with due process and without fear or favor.

“The commission owes this duty to all Nigerians and is prepared to proceed in earnest once all legal issues are resolved.”

Peter Claver Oparah: Dino Melaye Continues To Fun From His Shadow

For Dino Melaye, that rambunctious and swash buckling senator from Kogi State, the cloud still looks ominous. For someone that relishes hugging the limelight, what he is passing through presently bodes a fatal dent on that raunchy life. Melaye is besieged. He is beleaguered. He is battered. He is storm-tossed. Dino Melaye is distressed. He is like a cornered rat and gradually, he had been watching as all escape routes are plugged by those that want to see his back from the senate. As he makes frantic moves to avoid INEC and its recall papers, Dino cuts a sorry picture of a self-propelled fugitive who allowed his vanity, hubris and ego to dismantle him. With all the desperate moves Melaye made last week to evade INEC’s service of his recall papers, Dino showed that he has exhausted every prank to avoid the evil day. Now, what remains is for him to surrender and subject himself to the legal terms of recall and to defeat it not through such puerile pranks as he is now making but through well marshalled tactics that show he was wrongly set upon for recall, as he is crying all over town.

No doubt, he had been fervently praying that this cup passes him by but the cup has stubbornly stuck to him. He had threatened that no one can recall him from the senate where he plays the backup role to Bukola Saraki, the heavily dented president of the senate. In fact, he and Saraki exchange that role to each other; serving to buoy each other in moments of crisis. They have complimented each other in the many battles that bother on their indiscretion which they had been fighting since Saraki usurped the senate leadership. In this matter of Melaye’s recall, they have both laughed it off as a sick joke that will never see the light of the day. But, from all points, they seem to have boasted just too early and that is why today, Dino Melaye has been alternating several rat holes in a bid to stave off his impending recall. He is no more the loud, noisome, boastful stage actor in the senate. He has lost his swagger as he looked drained out the moment the Federal High Court ordered his recall to continue. In most of the senate sittings in recent times, Melaye has been conspicuously missing in action.

Dino is faced with a problem that had just refused to back off even with the seeming impregnable assurance of Saraki that no one can recall him. Since his Kogi West senatorial constituents threatened to send him home from the senate, both Dino and Saraki have tried all known means to beat off that menacing threat, to no avail. At first, Dino, in his usual masking manner, had laughed off the threat. He had waved it off as another feverish symptom that had hit his traducers. He had boasted that his people, who are as riled as Nigerians, over the nuisance he has willingly elected to constitute in the senate and on the national stage, lack the capacity to recall him from the senate. Sure, he was right to have woven the feeling of impregnability around himself because previous recall efforts have never seen the light of the day. The difficulty in mustering the required number of constituents to effectively carry out a recall gave Dino the confidence that his people will fail in this task.

But today, Dino looks like a cornered rat because his people have shown a clear readiness to cross hitherto impregnable fortresses against recall processes in their vow to see his back from the senate. In the sequel, Dino has lost his allure and is no more seen reveling and masking as he was known for. His notorious diarrhead mouth seems to have been capped. He is no more treating issues to the same casual, dismissive ambience for which he was noted. He has no more time for the kind of annoying petulance with which he treated issues about his persona and the senate. To put it mildly, Dino Melaye is greatly troubled and when one is greatly troubled, he finds no time for masking and reveling. Dino has lost the appetite for jokes and clowning. His worries are exacerbated by the fact that he had tried all tricks to shake off the recall bait but none is working. He had bluffed and huffed but the recall threat, like a stubborn abiku, still tracks him. He had threatened and invoked the powers of the senate, tucked under the armpits of his master and alter ego, Saraki but his traducers seem to care less about that. Those that want him out of the senate have shocked him by mobilizing a number that is over the constitutionally prescribed threshold. In apparent awe and shock, he had claimed that they forged such numbers but then he had been spiritedly running away from the due diligence of proving his claim.

On my last check, Dino Melaye has been touring and window-shopping the courts to stop his recall process. That was a seeming leak-proof strategy he borrowed from Saraki. Yes, the courts have only offered him temporary reprieve by holding up the recall process. But then, that proved to be mere postponement of the inevitable doomsday when the court recently ordered the recall process to continue. INEC, which in deference to the initial court order, stayed the process, having gotten the ruling of the court to restart the process, had been having difficulties serving Melaye a recall notice because Dino Melaye had been on the run. He had practically gone AWOL. He is running frantically away from the recall. He has shed the pretension to invincibility and now lives on devising newer ways of evading INEC. He now shuns his favourite playground, which is Saraki’s senate. From all seeming indices, Melaye is holed up in thin air!

Melaye now harbors a consuming fear of INEC. He doesn’t want to be served the notice of his recall because he knows that nothing will save him from recall if the process were to start. We are not seeing his usual clowning on national stages again because he faces a more urgent threat that will rob him of the klieg lights for his nuanced shows. Dino knows that he will be practically finished if he is recalled from the senate. He doesn’t even believe in the many boasts he had previously issued that no one can recall hm. Worse still, he does not even trust the assurance of his master, Saraki that his recall process would end as a huge joke. He doesn’t feel secured trusting his own tactics. Most importantly, he knows that his claim that enemies cooked up names to meet the constitutional requirement for his recall is mere bunkum otherwise, he would have by now, leveraged on the process to prove his claim and effectively squelch the recall process. Instead, he resorts to playing pranks, running and hiding in ignominious manners as a way of shaking off a well-articulated process.

Last week, INEC stormed the senate with bags of recall documents for Dino but he sneaked out of the senate on sighting INEC. He deserted his office and disappeared into thin air. What was chasing Melaye, if not the consequences of his life of vanity? Dino Melaye is running away from his shadows. He is being chased by his hubris. After running away from INEC, he was said to have posted some information on his WhatsApp page to the effect that he had filed an appeal against the Federal High Court ruling that his recall should proceed. He said by virtue of that, that INEC should stop his recall. He even claimed that his recall is a breach of the constitution. A day earlier, he was said to have addressed a press conference where he argued so laughably that since the number of days the constitution set for a recall to take place had elapsed, that his recall had failed. So Dino meant that since he got a court order holding up his recall for the better parts of the constitutionally guaranteed timeline for recall, that he was not recallable again. What a baloney! What crass foolery! What grandiose self-deceit! He conveniently forgot that the same court issued a directive that the constitutionally guaranteed time for his recall starts from the day the court discharged his case.

Every recent event surrounding the Melaye recall process suggests that Melaye is almost a goner. He is practically living on borrowed time. No tears for him. He is that proverbial bird that overfed itself and challenged its god to a wrestling contest. He had written the full epistle of his trajectory and his people in Kogi West are merely assisting him to lie on his bed the way he prepared it. That they mustered quite above the constitutional numerical requisite for a recall should have warned Melaye to devour the humble pie and make his peace first with his people and then Nigerians whom he had roundly insulted by his nuisance outings on national issues. The clear fate he is facing now for which he is on the run, is totally self-procured.

In one of his distressed effusions last week, he blamed virtually everybody except himself for what he is facing. He blamed INEC, Kogi State government and the federal government for his woes but Dino Melaye is a character that willingly set on a course of self-destruct when he became a noisome, uncontrollable obstacle to prudence. He should muster sufficient guts to face his travails and stop thinking he can ward off the determined resolve of his people to do away with him by playing hide and seek. Melaye should face his cup squarely and stop playing childish pranks that will not save him at the end of the day.

Peter Claver Oparah
Ikeja, Lagos.
e-mail: [email protected]

Buhari’s Trip To U.S. Is Fake News- Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the ‘news’ of President Buhari’s trip to the United States next year is fake news and has called o Nigerians to disregard the news.

In a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the minister, Mr Segun Adeyemi, The minister said one of the numerous parody Twitter accounts in his name — “@MohammedLai”, was used to announce that President Buhari would leave Nigeria for the U.S. on Monday ”to condole with President Donald Trump over the floods in Houston”.

“This is a 2015 NTA News video that was repackaged to look current, and to give the impression that the President left Daura, where he is celebrating Eid el-Kabir, directly for New York.”

“Numerous parody accounts have been opened in my name on the two platforms, when indeed I have no Twitter or Facebook account.”

Referring to a similar recent incident where a parody account in the minister’s name criticised embattled Senator Dino Melye, Mohammed added that “fake news, disinformation and hate speech are the antics of the naysayers, those who are pathologically opposed to this administration. That is why we are urging Nigerians to be more discerning and to double check any information emanating from Social Media.”

Senator Dino Melaye Spotted At The Hilton Carnival

Senator Dino Melaye has been through a lot in 2017, from the school certificate scandal, to NYSC pictures photoshop allegations, to assassination attempt and so many more.

One thing that we have come to love is the Senator’s ability to move pass whatever and enjoy life. He recently shared pictures of himself at the 2017 Notting Hill Carnival in London looking happy.

The Senator represents the Kogi West district.

With my Aburo @ the Canival

A post shared by Dino Melaye (@dinomelaye) on

The Law And Politics Of Recall, By Festus Okoye

To recall a member of the National Assembly, duly, validly and legally elected is a serious constitutional, legal, political, moral and strategic matter. To recall a member of any of the legislative houses combines the element of constitutionality, legality and politics.

 

It is constitutional because the qualification, disqualification, election and tenure of the members of the National Assembly are constitutionally provided and guaranteed. The recall of a member of the National Assembly is in the realm of legality because the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducts the election in which members are elected based on the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).

The recall of a member of the National Assembly is political because representation is part of the core functions of a member of the National Assembly. It is also political because the constituents or “political interests” in the constituency or the state must lose confidence in the ability of their member before initiating a recall process.

It is also political because the member is part of a constituent affinity in the State or National Assembly and also a member of a political party and sponsored by that party and the political party must have an interest in the recall or otherwise of their members since a new election must be conducted to fill the vacancy in the case of a successful recall.

To recall a member duly and legally elected is even more serious because on election, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, envisages that a member of the Senate and House of Representatives will remain in office and vacate office when the National Assembly stands dissolved at the expiration of a period of four years commencing from the date of the first sitting of the House. The member so elected, who has made expenses, possibly resigned from a paid employment, or abandoned some other businesses expects to remain in office for the four-year constitutional period.

To ask such a member to “pack and go home” is a serious matter.

Being a member of the National Assembly is a serious constitutional and political issue. There are people that want to contest election to the National Assembly but are constitutionally and legally barred from so doing. This is because section 65 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999(as amended) provides for the qualification of members of the National Assembly.

It states clearly that one will be qualified to contest election to the Senate if the person is a citizen of Nigeria and has attained the age of 35 years while someone can contest election to represent a federal constituency in the House of Representatives if the person is a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and has attained the age of 30 years.

In addition, such a person must have been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent; and he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that party. It is also a serious constitutional matter because no one can be a member of a political party if the person suffers any of the disqualifying provisions in section 66 of the Constitution.

The four-year permanence of the members of the National Assembly is punctuated by section 69(a) of the Constitution. It provides that a member of the National Assembly can be recalled if a petition is presented to INEC chairman and signed by more than half of the persons registered to vote in that member’s constituency al- leging their loss of confidence in that member, and which signatory are duly verified by INEC.

Section 69(2) of the Constitution also provides that on verification and authentication of the signatory, the petition is thereafter in a referendum conducted by INEC within 90 days of the date of the receipt of the petition, approved by a simple majority of the votes of the persons registered to vote in that member’s constituency. It seems to me that the members of the constituency of the member sought to be recalled can only lose confidence in the work the member was sent to the National Assembly to do.

Conversely, it is possible that the loss of confidence may be on issues unrelated to the legislative functions of the member of the National Assembly. Now, section 4(2) of the Constitution provides that the National Assembly shall have power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Federation or any part thereof with respect to any matter included in the Exclusive Legislative List.

The National Assembly is also vested with the power of appropriation or power and control over public funds.

The National Assembly conducts investigation into any matter or thing with respect to which it has power to make laws; and the conduct of affairs of any person, authority, ministry or government department charged, or intended to be charged, with the duty or responsibility of executing or administering monies appropriated or to be appropriated by the National Assembly, disbursing or administering monies appropriated or to be appropriated by the National Assembly.

Furthermore, the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria confirms certain category of presidential appointments in accordance with section 171 of the Constitution and other laws made by the National Assembly.

More importantly, the Senate and the House of Representatives are the tribunes of the people and represent the interests and aspirations of the people of their senatorial districts and federal constituencies.

It stands to reason that if a senator or a member of the House of Representatives becomes a bench warmer and does not understand the powers and functions of the National Assembly, does not contribute to debates, does not sponsors bills or motions the constituents will be right to recall such a member.

Unfortunately, a large number of our people do not really understand and or appreciate the work of the National Assembly.

Some of our people understand democracy and development from the prism of roads, culverts, drainages, boreholes, schools built, motorbikes bought and distributed and other visible or tangible “dividends” of democracy.

It is redundant and academic to talk to the ordinary people about bills and motions when they cannot see their tangible and visible impact in their lives.

So, it is more probable that a recall can be initiated based on the inability of the member of the National Assembly to provide for something unrelated to his or her core mandate.

What then can or will amount to “loss of confidence” leading to the recall of a member? It seems to me that loss of confidence is whatever members of the constituency regard as and adjudge as “loss of confidence”.

It seems to me that “loss of confidence” enjoys the same interpretation as the definition of gross misconduct in the removal of a President from office.

Section 143(10) of the Constitution relating to the impeachment of a President states that “gross misconduct” “means a grave violation or breach of the provisions of this Constitution or a misconduct of such nature as amounts in the opinion of the National Assembly to gross misconduct.”

Therefore, any act or misconduct relating to the performance of the legislative duties of the member or any act or conduct which in the opinion of the constituents is embarrassing or unbecoming and brings the constituency to disrepute can lead to a loss of confidence.

It will be good for our constitutional evolution to have at least one “genuine” “constituency” initiated recall process.

It will send a powerful signal that “no condition is permanent” and will reengineer the conduct of some members of the various Assemblies.

However, a contrived and malicious recall process will on the other hand lead to wastage of public funds and cow the members of the National Assembly.

 

INEC Suspends Melaye’s Recall

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it would comply with the order of the Federal High Court, Abuja that temporarily suspended the recall process of Sen. Dino Melaye from the Senate.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Melaye represents the Kogi West Senatorial District at the Upper Chamber.

The Commission disclosed this in a statement issued by Prince Adedeji Soyebi, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee on Thursday in Abuja.

Soyebi said the commission reached the decision after considering the court order dated July 6, 2017, at its regular weekly meeting held on Thursday.

The court order had directed all parties listed in the suit filed by Melaye to maintain the status quo till the determination of the motion on notice.

Melaye was seeking order of injunction against the commission to stop it from acting on the petition by registered voters of Kogi west senatorial district.

“As a responsible, law-abiding institution, INEC will comply with the order.

“However, the commission has also decided to take immediate steps to vacate the court order for the matter to be heard and determined expeditiously.

“Whereas the court had adjourned hearing of the Motion on Notice till Sept. 29, the commission by law has 90 days to complete the process,’’ he said.

Soyebi further said: “section 69 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) sets a limit of 90 days from the date of the presentation of the petition (21st June, 2017) for the exercise to be completed.’’

The national commissioner however, said the commission did draw the attention of the Chief Justice of Nigeria to the order.

Soyebi said this was in view of the negative effect the order had on the performance of the commission’s constitutional duty.

In another development, Soyebi said the commission had approved a policy of comprehensive audit after all elections.

“This is in line with its commitment of ensuring transparency and overall improvement of the electoral process,’’ he said.