LOKOJA—Prosecution witness yesterday at the FCT High Court in Apo, Abuja has given insight into how senator Dino Melaye escaped from police custody last year while being transported to Lokoja from Abuja.
The senator is facing a six-count criminal charges of attempted suicide, attempt to escape from police custody, damage to police property, mischiefs, and threat to public servants.
The prosecutor’s witness, the third in the series, Sergent Alao Muhammed said he was in the same vehicle where the senator forcefully jumped from, and in the process damaged the police property. The witness who said he had been in the police service for 12 years said Melaye damaged two police property when he forced his way out of their vehicles and attempted to escape.
The witness during the course of trial gave evidences that Melaye while being transported to Lokoja, broke the windshield of the vehicles with his elbow. The damaged vehicles which were already in the court premises was again assessed by the court and all the counsel to be true with the one being described by the witness. Testifying, he said, “On 24 April, 2018 at about 2pm my station officer who doubled as team leader, ASP Ibrahim Sunday detailed me amongst other three officers to convey Dino in a bus from Abuja to Lokoja. “On reaching Area 1 roundabout, Abuja, I saw a white Toyota hilux blocked our bus, immediately, the defendant broke the glass window and stood up inside the vehicle saying, “I’m not going to Lokoja, I’m not going to Lokoja”. “When the defendant try to open the car door I stood up to hold him but he kicked my hand as I try to hold him and the three of the defendant’s men who were accompanying him inside our vehicle blocked the other officers and assisted him to leap frog out of the door. “The police officer beside him sitting at the back of the driver, Corporal Nafiu Adamu was pushed as Dino forced the door opened. “Senator Dino jumped down from the bus, sat on the ground saying, “ I’m not going to Lokoja; I will kill myself and put police in trouble.” The witness said the senator turned down their appeal to come back into the vehicle and in a short while a large crowd gathered round them; a development the senator used to escaped. “The three men that entered our vehicle and the thugs that blocked our road carried him and put him inside a hilux and zoomed off from the roundabout. “We chased them to Yenagoa center where they use the vehicle to blocked the exit. The senator open the hilux and ran into the near bush along with those who assisted him. “We traced them to the bush and arrested one of them.” The witness said while the defendant was on the ground at the Area 1 roundabout, he held an object in his hand threatening to kill himself and implicate the police; this he said amounted to attempt at committing suicide. The trial however turned heated when Melaye counsel, Benson Igbanoi (standing in for Mike Ozekhome) commenced cross examination of the witness, as the prosecuting counsel, Jovi Orijefo refused to accept the document the defendant’s counsel was trying to present. The prosecutor counsel, said the defendant document (statement of the same witness on the day the issue occurred) was not certified and should not be accepted. The judge, Justice Sylvester Orji in a short ruling, asked the defendant’s counsel to ensure the document is certified before bringing them to the court at the next sitting. He subsequently adjourned the case to September 11, 18 and October 3, 2019 for continuation of hearing and cross examination of witnesses.