The travails of Sen. Dino Melaye don’t surprise anyone. As a matter of fact, it was always a question of when and how. Asides being a staunch critic of President Buhari, he also picked up a fight with a man who has said he will jump into fire if President Buhari asks him to; Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state.
Dino has survived a fake certificate scandal, had an audio recording of him bribing an election tribunal judge leaked and charged to court for falsely accusing the Kogi state chief of staff of trying to assassinate him. He looked poised to drag a recall process as far as he possibly could before he was hit with allegations of arming thugs to cause mayhem in his home state. He is a marked man. A man to be brought down by any means necessary.
As an enemy of government, Sen. Melaye will most likely, never enjoy the privileges people like Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege do. Omo-Agege led a gang of 15 hoodlums into the hallowed chambers of the senate while plenary was in session to cart away the mace; the senate’s symbol of authority. But asides a face-saving stroll to the police headquarters accompanied by the FCT Commissioner of Police, nothing has been done. In a scene out of an action movie,thugs forced their way in while petitions were been read with their leader heard screaming – ‘Nigeria belongs to all of us. All of us are Nigerians and we have come to bring in our senator to have his seat as our senator’.
Sen. Omo-Agege walked in majestically escorted by other hoodlums and heads straight for the dias prompting security to ferry the deputy senate president, Sen. Ike Ekwerenmadu into the tea room. It is an insult on the intelligence of Nigerians for the police,with the overwhelming evidence at their disposal to allow the senator go simply because he denied leading the thugs or inciting any trouble.
Section 3 of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act grants immunity to lawmakers only regarding utterances made on the floor of their houses during proceedings. The privilege does not in any way extend to crimes outside that. Omo-Agege who was suspended by the senate just a day before,had no business in the premises that day and though he claims he was ‘legally advised’ to disregard his suspension, it is hard to imagine anyone doing so without recourse to the act which provides in Section 22 for a forceful ejection and immunity for whoever effects it if he refuses to leave.
There is absolutely no reason for this man and his goons to not face the law.Add the video evidence to the statement of the senate spokesperson, Abdullahi Sabi and you have sufficient grounds for a case.Except of course someone doesn’t want that to happen.
A former chief whip of the senate, Sen.Rowland Owie, perhaps shocked by the impunity with which the act was perpetrated and the laid-back attitude of the authorities towards prosecuting the perpetrators,has come out to accuse the Buhari government of being behind the invasion and you can’t blame him for it. Buhari has a history of protecting his cronies and it would be wise to put nothing beyond a president that would sit back and do nothing after the indictment of of all people, his justice minister, Abubakar Malami SAN in the reinstatement of former pension boss, Abdulrasheed Maina; a fugitive wanted by the EFCC, back into the civil service.
It is disgraceful to say the least,that hoodlums would besiege the national assembly, injure its staff, forcefully reinstate a suspended senator and steal the mace of the senate. It is an unprecedented low and everyone involved must be punished to pass a strong message.
What is good for Dino is also good for Omo-Agege.
Umar Sa’ad Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano.